Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
If you havent seen it - Buy The Nativity Story Now about $10 on amazon!
In May of 2011 we received an email from our local homestudy agency about a situation locally that needed a family who was ready immediately to take a boy about to be born that the planned adoptive family had changed their minds about. After praying and careful research and consideration we realized that this seemed to be the best case scenario for us. The birth mother said over and over that she was 100% going to move forward. She was not parenting her two older children and said she could not parent a new child. She had already spent some of the pregnancy in jail and been through domestic disputes with the birth father. We excitedly got the room ready, the supplies, through the paperwork, took care of the birthmom and got to know her.
In late June the bm called me saying she was headed to the hospital and to hold tight until she got settled and then she would call and we could head up. I spent the day going through labor with her. Holding her hand when she needed someone to squeeze. Helping her walk to the bathroom. Putting ice in her mouth. Rubbing her hand, arm, face, whatever I could do to help. Late that night it was time to push. They asked me to hold one of the legs. She told them she wanted to hold the baby a moment and then to hand him to me, and that I would name him for the birth cert. It was crazy. First birth I have seen. I have no words. He came out. Beautiful. I cut the cord and we held him and fed him. Mr Awesome excitedly came in and gave him his first bottle. We took pictures and texted our parents and siblings the pictures.
The bm has asked for the baby to stay overnight in the nursery. It was after midnight and we had been up since 1am the night before. The doctor would be in around 5am they said so the nurses advised we go back to the hotel for a couple hours sleep. When we returned after a couple hours of sleep the baby was back in the bm's room. We were also told she had asked for him the night before, but then hadn't been feeding him or changing the diapers. We quickly took care of these needs and spent the day in a tiny room with the baby, bm, and the bm's current boyfriend. We watched movies and laughed and took care of the baby. Towards the end of the day, the night before the papers were to be signed, she seemed to be fighting with the bf and ended up leaving. I asked if she was ok and if she was going for a walk and she said yes. We continued to care for the baby and at some point I realized she had been gone a while. In the instant I realized the lawyer called and informed me that she was changing her mind.
What followed was terrible grieving. Many tears. Many many tears. Took a while to come back to planet earth after this. Its not really explainable...
first hangup was a sonogram that hinted at club foot, down syndrome, and possibly cleft palate/lip. We prayed and opted to move forward after being told there was a good chance the baby had all that. we knew God would lead us no matter the challenges. the very day we said we would definitely move forward regardless of possible ds and others... we were told the bfather was now a problem and though earlier said he would sign now refusing and wanted to parent the child. we learned the birth father was abusive, college dropout, a drug addict, and convicted of drug charges. we were also told in 99% of situations the bfather never follows through. we were told we just needed to send a letter forcing him to claim or walk away from the baby. we were assured he would walk away. next we were told he and his father planned to fight for the baby because they really wanted to force bmother to keep him. in our hearts we gave up then. we felt it important to continue supporting bm though. and we did. texted, called, encouraged... when she was sad or stressed she would call crying and we would encourage her that God had a plan and no matter what it would work out. then we were told the baby no longer showed any signs of ds or other birth problems. yay. then there was question that bf was the bf. so after child was born they did pat test. four days later we were told to expect the call with results. being told bf was the only one to have unprotected sex with her we were anxious to get the call so we could officially put it all behind us. but instead we got a call "hes not the father come get him."
lawyer was out of town though. so baby had to stay with bm all weekend. spent the weekend with the baby caring for the baby at bfam's house since lawyer said not to take the baby until after signing, despite bfam's offer to take him back to hotel. tuesday morning started getting weird calls from bfamily about that they didnt want to deal with crazy lawyer anymore. while we agreed we wanted this done and over with so we just encouraged them and told them to let us know what they wanted to do. in the end we got call from the lawyer that it was over, confirmed by bgm.
had to go over and pick up the carseat we had left from the day before when we took bfam out to ice cream. i walked in and they immediately threw the baby in my arms and left the room. as soon as i looked down at him I started sobbing. then grandma came back. she said "shes in the shower. dont leave until you get to see her". When she walked out half crawling on the floor sobbing. hysterical. I went to hug her. Tried to hand baby to her. she couldnt hold him up. she handed him to grandma. grandma left room with him. we hugged and bawled. she kept saying "im so sorry. im so sorry. its not my fault. its not my fault". i left. she fell. then crawled to her room crawling. said to her grandma "cant do this. shes leaving".
we left. drove home. cried on and off. got home. went to sleep. i was scared i would wake up in that same depression like the first time this happened. but no. woke up full of hope and ready for the future. God is good.
thats the long and short of it. onward.
"Advent links our hearts with those of ancient prophets who pined for a long-promised Messiah but who passed away long before his arrival. In the process, Advent reminds us that we too are waiting." - Timothy Paul Jones
Interesting to think that as we wait for our child we also are given a peek into what it was like to wait for the messiah. Wow. Never thought about that before.
God is Good!
Monday, December 19, 2011
chamomile tea - yummm
my husband - :)
my friends and family
that i have food in my belly
that i have a roof over my head
that i have clothes on my back
that i live in florida
that i live in the usa
that we have freedom thanks to those who sacrifice
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth.[b] A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Love at first sight might not be the exact term to describe us. I mean we fell in love more and more over time. But by the end of my first date with Mr Awesome I knew that this was the very husband I had asked the Lord for. He fit absolutely every little thing I had ever prayed for my husband and more. It was as if the Lord opened up the heavens and mr awesome walked down the stairs and the Lord said - "Here he is! Just like you asked!" So, though our love grew over time, we knew right away we were our lobsters.
Perhaps it was 6 months before he proposed to me but I think we were engaged from the moment our eyes first met, at least in our hearts. We knew a long engagement was a good idea so others could get used to it and we could have time to prepare for each other. So we set our wedding date for about 15 months after our first date. When he asked my dad for my hand, my dad told him "I have been praying God would bring an amazing Christian man into Maggie's life to be her husband. I know that you are the one I have been praying for." My dad would tell me early on that when I was with mr awesome he could see in my eyes that I was happier and more at peace than he had ever seen me.
Now, I have friends who married quick in a courthouse and regret it. I have friends who always say "one day we will have the wedding I always wanted", and they never do. So, while I didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on our wedding, I wanted it to be something we would remember and be happy about.
Now, for a long time after our wedding mr awesome and I would cringe when we talked about it. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was more than I could hope for. It was fun. In fact, I have to say it was the most fun I have had at a wedding. It wasn't the stress most people talk about. I had fun. I spent time with friends and family. We danced, laughed, and ate, and drank, and talked, and danced. It was amazing. It felt like a fairy tale. So why would we cringe?
Basically mr awesome didnt do something he said he would the morning of the wedding, and while my friends and I were scurrying to finish things he relaxed by the pool with his family. I spent the morning calling him prince <insertRealNameHere> (in a sarcastic tone).
One of my besties, A, was trying to knock me out of my mania and while I was sitting on the balcony having my hair done at my mom's, she asked me to do the ABCs of why I love mr awesome. Kind of like when we are stressed or mad and we do the ABCs of how the Lord blesses us. Every time she would give me a letter I would say something negative. And shed frown. And I would call him "the prince" in that obnoxious tone. We got through it. Regardless of my anger at the situation (which was clearly amplified by the anxiety of the wedding day), I knew that mr awesome was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and melted ice certainly didn't change that.
At this point its not a cringe-worthy event anymore. We laugh at it. I realized something recently. I spent the day calling mr awesome a prince, and the truth is he is my prince. He has come into my life and swept me off my feet and carried me away on the back of his horse. He loves me, protects me, spoils me, indulges me, cares for me, stands up for me, and would absolutely put everything on the line for my well being. He doesn't always give me everything I want, but he gives me everything I need, most of what I want, and all that is good for me. Sometimes I want to be irresponsible but he is forever responsible and forever a rule follower. If something isn't good for us in the long run, he won't concede. Which is not to say that he doesn't spoil me. When something is wrong he rushes to me. When someone has offended me he rushes to me and stands in front of me. When I am weak he holds me up. When I am sad he wipes my tears and holds my hand. When I am mad he takes up a sword. When I am wrong with others he softly tells me that I am wrong. When I am wrong with him he is silent. He prays with me. He prays for me. He reads me the bible. He constantly reminds me of God's love for me.
Sound familiar? We are told to find a man who reflects Christ and marry him. I have indeed done that. Not to pat my own back... I would have had to have been completely blind deaf and dumb to not have seen my prince when he descended those stairs and the Lord presented him to me exactly as I had asked.
Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of our first date. Every day I love him more than the day before. I am a loved and adored wife. I am a loved and adored child of God. I am a blessed woman. And certainly... I married a prince.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The very next morning we got some bad news. And immediately went to that playlist and played it for days... constantly... Thursday I was on my way to my sisters for my niece's birthday fighting tears for various disappointments in the week... when I was blasting this playlist a song came on, by Kirk Franklin and Toby Mac, called I AM God. I don't remember putting this on my playlist or honestly even ever buying this song. But suddenly this song rocked my world.
I saw myself, almost dressed like a roman soldierish... and bent down on one knee, with a spear in my right hand, head bowed. Fighting to get up and flail and fight. But the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and kept reminding me to be still and know He is God and that He has everything under control. It was a fight... but it gave me more reassurance and hope and just reminded me of how LOVED I am. Read the lyrics I have posted below for the part that really got me. This song has echoed in my head all week and reassured me in hard times. Check out the video :)
You win. (uh huh!)
I've been trying to do it on my own. (Yes Lord!)
But right now I gotta surrender.
You know what's best. (Say it like you mean it!)
It's not easy waiting on you.
It's not easy believing that you got this together.
But without faith it is impossible to please you. (We recognize you!)
So I'm gonna stand right here. (We are still before you!)
You got me. (We are still before you!) You got me. You got me.
Be still and know (we know!) I am God (We gonna lift those hands. I surrender to your authority God! I surrender!)
Be still (we're still!) and know (we know!) I am God (I give you my will)(Gotta know! Gotta! know! Gotta know!)
Be still (I'm yours!) and know (we know!) (I'm yours!) I am God (I'm tired of living on my own! I'm tired of living on my own!)
Be still and know (we know!) I am God (You are God!)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Every good and perfect gift in my life really is from the Lord. I am so thankful for everything He has given me in my life.
- My husband, mr awesome. I prayed for years for a very specific husband. I prayed He would be humble, Christ loving, tender, funny, forgiving, patient, doting. If someone were to meet mr awesome, these very specific traits would be the first they would notice of him. I prayed the Lord would bring mr awesome to me, and He did. This man loves like I have not known love before. This man protects and cares for me. This man spoils me. Be brings me flowers, like yesterday, when I was sad. He leads me with strong arms. He reflects Christ to me. He encourages me. He holds me accountable. He cuddles me. He burritohugs me. He indulges me. He is patient with me. He puts up with me at my worst (which isnt fun hehe). He sweetly, loyally, patiently loves me in a way I did not know was possible. I literally love him more every day than the day before. I feel right now like I could not love him one ounce more, but tomorrow I will wake and find that I do. And so on. I am so so so thankful for this gift in my life. The Lord has blessed me with a husband that I do not deserve.
- My home. Before mr awesome and I married we were looking for a house to live in once we married. We drove around looking at rentals and when we found a particular home and parked in the driveway we both agreed it would be dreamy to live in this house and intended to rent it. It was on a lake, with a back yard, backed up to a forest on one side. It was a relatively new two story home with a garage and it just looked so cute and our style from the front. It looked perfect, and homey, and peaceful. Well we decided to buy a house instead, and would you believe that this house that we fell in love with was suddenly for sale right when we were looking. Not only that, but we were able to buy it in short sale in a matter of months for less than half of the amount the previous owner had paid. Though at times it seemed hopeless, and at times we thought we would have to give up, but I just had a feeling the Lord had this house for us and we pushed through. This house is not just a house but a home. We are told by people who visit that it is homey and they feel peaceful, cozy, and welcome in our house. The Lord has blessed us with a home that we do not deserve, but gives us a peaceful respite from the world.
- My friends. I remember about 10 years ago. I was lonely. I had a few friends. But no one close. No one to encourage me, hold me accountable, really enjoy life with. I remember sitting on my couch praying... crying out to the Lord.. begging for friends, christian friends, to walk life with. This was a prayer I cried out often. Though it felt like I waited for them longer than I wanted to, it was actually a prayer answered quickly. I am beyond beyond blessed to have two of the most amazing friends in the world. These two girls were there for me when there was no mr awesome. These two girls grilled mr awesome repeatedly before they gave their blessings. These two girls held me up when I wanted to fall down, and continue to. These two girls encourage me, bless me, strengthen me, and hold me. When the three of us or any two of us are together we laugh, and we laugh, and we laugh. We laugh so hard we make crazy funny noises and often have to run for the bathroom. The joy they bring into my and mr awesome's life is immeasurable. Through good times and hard times, and fights and hurt feelings they have always been there. And they are a gift to me from the Lord that I am so undeserving of.
Monday, December 5, 2011
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
We painted this on the wall of the nursery. I think the Lord had us put it there more for us than for anything. LOL. We have needed the Lord's strength this year in ways beyond what we expected. We knew it would be a year of trials, but I don't imagine we planned on the level of pain and disappointment that was waiting for us.
We expected to be home in the early part of this year with a little one from Ethiopia. We didn't imagine it would be December and we would still be waiting for a referral with 2 major domestic disruptions and 3 minor. We didn't imagine we would love and care for a baby and then have him taken away. We didnt expect to be just the two of us this Christmas.
But God did. God knew and expected and prepared us.
Since the day I married mr awesome I never once questioned that decision. When we were attached at the hip our first year and longed for every second with each other... people told us, oh that will last about a year tops... Nope. At almost 4 years I still long for every moment in his arms. Though I enjoy spending time with friends and others, when mr awesome is not near me I count the minutes until he is. When I am sad or stressed or angry, nothing comes close to the comfort I feel when he wraps me up in his arms like a burrito and holds me.
Well one thing does... the peace that transcends all understanding.
I consider myself weak. I have big eyes and a small stomach. I have high hopes but I tremble with fear at the idea of them. Little things can be a big effort for me as I fight the fear that paralyzes. With Christ, I am strong. With Christ WE are strong. With the peace that transcends all understanding... we are unstoppable.
We are held. Not just held, but upheld in the righteous right hand of the king of kings. In times of loss when we feel this peace, and we know we are held, that is our strength.
So today as we mourn a loss, we are also experiencing this sense of peace. I feel held. In the way that my husband wraps me up in a burrito exemplifying his savior, I feel the Lord doing that for me today. And I know, even when I don't feel held, its only because I am closing my eyes to his touch.
And so we thank the Lord and remember all that He has done and IS doing for us.
Real quick appointment and we were out of there in less than 15 minutes. Woot CIS! Now just send us that updated letter!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Adoption Front -
- We graduated our mapp class. Though we are told they will be super busy and probably wont start homestudies until January or February. Just holding Tight.
- WH Eth referrals have drastically slowed down as of late. 1 for Nov, 2/3 for the months preceeding. Just holding Tight.
- Another possibility that we aren't holding our breath for. Just holding Tight.
We traveled north to visit relatives of mr awesome. had a great time being touristy, taking photos, eating yummies. Lots of time in the car.
My bestie is in Uganda right now. keep her in your prayers as her process is taking lots of fun and not so fun twists and turns. praying her and her hubby, son, and new son get home super duper soon.
Mr Awesome is still ridiculously adorable. Time to go home and cuddle him right now in fact.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
As if I didnt already love her enough :P... Friday Night Lights star Connie Britton adopts a baby boy from Ethiopia...
Friday Night Light's star Connie Britton is the latest actress to adopt a child.
The 44-year-old has revealed to People magazine that after a three month process she has adopted a nine-month-old Ethiopian boy.
She joins the likes of Sex And The City star Kristin Davis, who adopted a little girl a few months ago.
Connie said she traveled to African to collect her baby, and brought him home last week.
She has named the little boy Yoby, a nickname of Eyob, which is his given name.
Texas - 482 incoming adoptions
Florida - 323 incoming adoptions
North Dakota - 10 incoming adoptions
Nevada - 14 incoming adoptions
Nebraska - 53 incoming adoptions
New Mexico - 29 incoming adoptions
I am thinking we need to take a trip to the N states and get them on board ;)
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
that I had downloaded on my kindle and not gotten around to reading yet. It is a pretty amazing story in line with 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Lifewhich was a great book as well, very similar, but if I had to choose one I would select Heaven is for Real.
According to the book the little boy (3 at the time), Colton, during an emergency surgery, goes to heaven and chills with Jesus for a while. One of the things the family would make into a game afterwards was when they would see a painting of Jesus they would ask Colton what he thought. Colton would always frown and say "no its not right" and then would sometimes explain what parts were wrong. When Colton first told his dad about Jesus there were certain things that were clear and stood out. The first was what Colton called "markers", which were red marks located in the places the nails were driven. The second thing Colton mentioned over and over was how pretty Jesus' eyes were. Other things the boy had said were not things he would have known unless he had read some pretty in depth parts of the bible. Everything lined up with scriptures (the ultimate testing ground - yes).
When the father, Todd, heard about a little girl who was having dreams where she would go to heaven and talk to Jesus. The little girl painted a picture of Jesus that she was seeing. Todd showed it to Colton and for the first time Colton said it looked like Jesus. I think what actually was said was Todd asked Colton what was wrong with this one and Colton said "Nothing" with a big grin on his face. Either way it was clear that what this girl had seen seemed to line up with what Colton saw when he went to heaven.
So, needless to say after reading this I was dying to see the painting this girl had drawn. So I googled it and found it this morning. And figured I would share it with you. As most people I am always skeptical about these things, and without knowing the people personally it is hard to trust in their experiences. However, whether this little boy or this little girl went to heaven or not it is pretty amazing to see what this little one drew.
Last night at MAPP we focused on the transition from foster home to adoption home. Here are some of the things we learned, mostly common sense but worth repeating...
- Disruptions & Dissolutions
- A disruption is when before the adoption is completed it is terminated
- A dissolution is after an adoption is completed it is reversed (though the teacher always reminds us that there is a no return policy :) )
- It is very very important during the 90 days the child is with you that you determine as soon as possible if there is a problem. It is much harder the further you go, and it only gets worse if its not working and you don't seek help.
- The stages of dissolution are:
- negative feelings, the negatives seeming to outweigh the positives
- blaming the child for everything
- talking to people outside the family and negative feelings amplifying
- giving ultimatums to the child
- It is very important to call someone at stage 1 to either work things out or stop the adoption before it goes further, otherwise it is harmful to everyone involved
- The foster parent is key to the ease of the transition
- If the foster parent properly prepares the child for the adoptive family the child will transition easier and will have less emotional trauma and self esteem issues
- The child trusts the foster parent so more than the words the fp says but the way they say it will determine the child's approach to their adoptive parent
- Most FPs are amazing and show the child pictures of the new family, tell them what to expect, encourage child to call adoptive parents mommy and daddy, talk about them excitedly, take part in transitioning events and celebrations, etc.
- Some FPs struggle at the loss of the child who may have been with them for years, and so convey to the child that this is not a positive thing, which causes the transition for the child to be one more horrendous event in their life.
- If possible, continuing communication and relationships with the FPs could be key to helping the child with their self-esteem and with the transition.
- It is vital for the adoptive parent to move at the pace of the child with the transition, to make sure they are not pushing too fast in the relationship and to match the child for their comfort and ease of transition.
- It is vital for them to feel special and loved and wanted, because they are once again being moved and often wonder if its something they did wrong.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
This weekend we took a trip down south. We had a meeting on Sunday afternoon in Pompano Beach so we decided to make a weekend out of it. We reserved a room at an awesome beach resort at a ridiculously inexpensive price, popped the puppies in the car, and hit the road.
I think one of the highlights was when mr awesome woke me up for a sunrise. Being on the west coast we get to see the sunsets on the ocean but not the sunrises. So it was special.
Did I spend the weekend working? Absolutely. Did I sit out by the pool next to the beach on my laptop and let the ocean breeze surround my table? Absolutely. I even had a skype conference call with one of my clients out on the beach. #LOVERESORTWIFI
However, much to my surprise I actually got to spend a lot of time relaxing. We sat on the beach in our recently purchased drive-in-movie-beach-chairs and read and soaked the salt water, and splashed, and.... relaxed. #learningtositstill
Don't get me wrong... I definitely got us walking, as we explored the fishing pier and the local beaches. But I didn't know I could sit that long without exerting energy.
Sunday morning I sat out on the beach and started and completed a book (Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, Deluxe Edition
) in its entirety all before our meeting. Great book - I highly recommend you reading it.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
...On September 27, 2002, it was finally time for him to go home with his new family. I sat in the hospital chapel holding him, rocking him, and kissing him through my tears. My heart was so raw ~ I started to pray holes in the roof of that building. 'Father, if thou wilt take this pain from me, I can't bear this any longer. Please take this burden from me.' His peace came to me, it engulfed me, and I was surrounded by His love.
What an overwhelming, spiritual, emotional, painful, and uplifting experience. When his parents walked into the hospital chapel, I felt a burning in my chest, the spirit was so strong! His mother was crying harder than I was, and the happiness that glowed from her was amazing! Looking at her, I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew they were to be his parents, and it was all worth it. This meeting was short and sweet. I did not try to stop the tears as they ran down my face. With a strength and confidence I never knew I had, I told them I had something for them, and brought forth my son and placed him into his mother’s arms. He was theirs, and the looks on their faces further confirmed to me of their love - they loved both of us. And as I left the room, God held my hand....
read the rest of the story here!
Monday, October 31, 2011
1. My current weather is _______?
rainy and cold
2. What is your favorite sound?
laughter or the buzz of a text message
3. What is the worst flavor of ice cream?
4. What magazine do you look for when you are stuck in the waiting room?
ummm... angry birds on iphone duh :)
5. What is your favorite condiment?
balsamic vinegar fo sho
Mandi Mapes / This Love / P E M MA by jamesjosephaudio
This Love by Mandi Mapes
I’ve never felt this way before
funny how you found you’re way to my door
and suddenly my prayers are coming true
and these arms are not letting go of you
this love this love is the deep kind
you’re my baby, you’re my sunshine
I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan
and I’ll love you all of the time
our eyes are not quite the same shade
and your hair blows in the wind a different way
but I am your mother and
I love you just the same
so I’ll take your hand honey
and you can take my name
my heart has been redeemed,
adopted and now I know my Father
this grace that I’ve received
I want to show you
I want to show you
this love this love is the deep kind
it hangs on through the storm and the sunshine
I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan
and I’ll love you all of the time
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Mapp class was a lot of fun tonight. Mr Awesome was especially humorous and adorable and we learned a lot about tools for the best ways to parent hurt children. Here are the main points I took from the class:
- Ignore junk behaviors - some behaviors (known as junk behaviors) don't hurt anyone and are simply reflections of the inner hurt. Some examples are whining, cursing, stomping feet, not doing a chore, calling names... When you are dealing with a hurt child, reacting to a junk behavior is often ineffective and often just makes it worse. The suggestion is to ignore the junk behavior, sometimes averting eyes, attention or not verbally responding.
- Stay Close - stay close to the child in proximity, observing behaviors, praising positive behaviors, listening, talking, expressing empathy, asking open ended positive questions, avoiding reactive coercive and punishment parenting.
Earlier this year when everything went a little haywire and we weren't really sure what we were going to do, we made a fatal error...
We skipped our fingerprint appointment. I mean, we didn't know what we were going to do or if we would even need our cis approval. We were stressed-anxious-depressed and didn't really want to even think about it. So we skipped it. And apparently that is the cardinal sin of CIS. When we got our worlds back on track and started working on making sure everything was updated... we called CIS to see if we could reschedule fingerprints... and they told us that if we had called 3 days earlier sure. But that they had mailed us a letter cancelling our cis approval. !!!!
Anyhow, we were unable to get back in touch with our officer, and so we reached out to our agency and were affirmed not to worry since we were still approved until late November so all we needed to do was request our extension and fingerprint appointment again. So we did. Three weeks later and still no fingerprint appointment. In the meantime have been been harassing our officer's voicemail to no avail.
Today we finally heard her sweet sweet voice when we asked to speak with her. Well, mr awesome did and when she started telling him that we needed to start over again he had her conference me in. And off I went explaining how we were so sorry that we missed the appointment and didn't even get into the misery that was the first part of this year for us. Then I tried with logic and explained that our current cis doesn't even expire until the end of next month so weren't we 100% eligible to request an extension?
PRAISE THE LORD she said she would talk to her supervisor and see what she could do. In a few minutes she told us that she had ordered our files again and if we were right that we don't expire until November (yes I doublechecked and we have until almost December), that she would reopen our case and get our fingerprints ordered. !!!!
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 tips for dealing with CIS
- Mail everything with tracking numbers and stay on top of when they receive your application.
- As soon as you receive confirmation that they received your case, give them a few days and then call and find out the name and extension number for the person assigned to your case.
- As soon as you get your fingerprint appointment in the mail, disregard the date on your appointment, drive down to the office and get your fingerprints done asap. Most offices accept walk ins and as long as you have the paper with the appointment it will work out much better than sitting around waiting for the date.
- After a couple days from your fingerprint appointment call your officer and see if she received them and ask for an eta of when you will get your approval.
- Don't call so much that you bug them, but I would say anytime you are waiting on them to do something - calling a couple times per week is helpful. Squeaky wheel and all.
- Never Ever Ever miss a fingerprint appointment - its freaking free and you never know
- Show your officer love - let her/him know how much you appreciate everything so much every single phone call
- Ask for their supervisors number to praise them for expedient service
- Stay on top of your expiration dates - fingerprints and approval
- Never Ever miss a fingerprint appointment - don't be a dipwad like us :P
Monday, October 24, 2011
Halloween. As a child this holiday meant candy for weeks (yes my mother rationed us and took most of it to work) and fun and staying up late and hanging out with friends, and coming up with a fun costume. I never put much thought into it. I was never crazy about scary movies, stories, tv shows, games. In fact I would say my whole life I have been scared of the dark to an extent because that is when I would remember every little detail of every horrid thing I had ever seen or read.
When I became a Christian many things were entangled in my new faith. I found Christ in the middle of the three most traumatic experiences of my life. While Christ was clear to me suddenly, my desperation surrounding those events assisted me in making poor decisions on a number of fronts. These poor decisions took a young woman who always was a bit of a fraidy-cat and at that time gave her full on panic disorder. Like... stopped attending my college courses, stopped going to work, afraid to leave the house, spent most days under the covers... Anyhow, getting over that involved medication, therapy, and a combination of avoidance and pushing myself beyond what I thought I could do.
Some things, like horror movies, and even some action movies... are just too much for my anxiety level now. Due to this I avoid them at any opportunity. At the same time, the more I learned about Christ the more I learned the reality of some of these things from horror movies. Which also removed many of them from my desirable list. I do know there is some intermingling though of the source of my aversion...
Anyhow... that's all just a little background. So to this day I am conflicted about Halloween. I dont want to be legalistic or a fuddy duddy. But if this Satan guy is a bad dude, (the whole enemy of our souls thang) then do we party with him one day a year? Dressing our kids up like him and his minions?
Do we celebrate it at a holiday festival - or is that doing the same thing with a christian spin on it? I mean I wouldn't go to church to celebrate Mohammad's birthday with candy and cake and say oh this is a summer festival. (no clue when mo's bday is)... I mean, if Jesus were a man in our culture what would he do? If trick or treaters knocked at his door I bet he would give them the biggest candy bars on the street. He would use it as an opportunity to love. Would he dress up like a little demon? hell no - get it - HELL no.
I have had times where one opinion or the other wins me over but I continue to be conflicted about it. What do you do? Leave me a comment with your opinion. Where do you draw the line?
3 John 1:11 (NIV)
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
Romans 12:13 (NIV)
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I was reading some Moore and it got me thinking about this epidemic...
Being a woman I can only assume, but I get the feeling that the number one temptation for men in our culture (and heck all cultures) is lust. If you believe what the media tells us lust is something men think about all day long. Inhabiting the same world as men and growing up friends with men... that does ring true. Now what a man does with that lust is what characterizes them. If a man controls it they succeed over this temptation.
But how easy is to succeed in the culture we are currently living in? In a culture where moms think its ok for their sons to read pornographic magazines and some of them actually order them for them? In a culture where parents send their son off with a relative for their 18th birthday for a good wholesome "ladies entertainment" facility? In a culture where what we watch on basic television today is what would shock our grandparents to even be in a rated r movie not so many years ago.
Do we know that exposure to pornography is detrimental to the development and conscience of a man? Do we know that the guilt and shame associated with it will create depression, marital problems, skewed perspectives of sexual relations and women and im sure many more... What are we doing to protect our sons from pornography?
One day I may be a mother to a son. My husband - a father to a son. What will we do to teach our boy a proper perspective of sex and lust? What have you done? Feel free to share in comments. The world is scary. I know of men whose fathers read porn so they followed after them. I know of men whose parents bought special tv channels to provide their sons porn. While obviously I wouldn't do any of these things (gosh that sounded judgemental. i dont mean to be judgemental. its not for me to judge. but its sad so i feel like commenting on it. and heck its my blog. so deal), so while I wouldn't that doesn't guarantee that my son won't get addicted to it on his own. And What will I do to prevent that? How can I protect my son from becoming visually addicted to such images?
We teach our sons how to fix the car. We teach our sons how to build a fire. We teach our sons how to treat each other. We teach our sons about God. But what do we do to teach them a proper perspective of such a huge part of their lives?
The scriptures teach us to run from sin, to run from temptation. Some people think that the best way to fight temptation is to expose yourself to it and show who is the boss. The scriptures tell you to run from it. Here are a couple verses to help.
Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman".
Proverbs 6:25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.
Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
I think that the movie Courageous was a great inspiration to fathers and parents to take a more active role in the raising of their children. To get to know their kids and their interests. And to teach their children how to grow up to be strong men and women in their faith. But lets take it one step further. What can we do to stop this pornography epidemic? Starting with our sons.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I can't tell you how many fingerprints we have had taken, background checks sent in...
Well one new rule from overseas is that a local precinct letter is no longer sufficient, and we need to do an additional fbi fingerprint check (despite having fbi fingerprint check done in homestudy)... anyhow... off it goes. I hear its taking 6-8 weeks to receive approval on these so... wonder if they think our fingerprints really change four times per year, or if they enjoy us scurrying around... :P
Well here we go again...
Monday, October 17, 2011
An exclusive video documentary featuring Pastor John Piper as he walks through his personal story of growing up in the segregated South. His personal story boldly champions the transforming power of the gospel and the beauty of racial diversity and harmony in Christ.
Learn more about the book...http://www.crossway.org/books/bloodlines-hccase/
1. The thing that scares me the most is __________?
2. Do you like nuts in your Chocolate Chip cookies?
3. If you couldn't change the channel, what tv show would drive you from the room?
anything with gore... like those investigative shows that seem to be on every channel every night
4. Pulp or no pulp in your Orange Juice?
5. Who do you miss the most?
like someone dead? my granny. like someone alive but not closeby anymore? my besties anna and arl
Saturday, October 15, 2011
... and no... it won't be over before you know it.
If I could talk to myself two years ago when we were starting our process to adopt a child from Ethiopia that is what I would say. Or maby not... maybe its better to learn along the way. I mean I knew it was going to be long. I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew it would require sacrifice. But I didn't know it would hurt so much. From beginning and throughout.
When people started hearing that we were adopting attacks were thrown, insults, nasty comments. It blows me away what Christ, adoption, and trans-racial families draw out of people... the person inside them that they cover up most of the time. We all have ugly inside us in some ways. But the ignorant things that were spoken early on will forever paint how I see some people. Its sad. I wish I could unhear them.
The disruption earlier this year hurt beyond what I can explain. I wouldn't want my worst enemy to go through it. It broke me for a while. I am just now getting back to normal. I imagine I will always flinch when something reminds me of what happened in Orlando.. and the insensitive comments afterwords... wow.
But in the end... there is nothing that can compare to the hurt that our son will have experienced. And short of being an orphan ourselves, there is no way that we can comprehend the hurts he will have. The hurt we have gone through over the past few years has changed us, it has grown us. Individually and as a family. Hopefully these hurts and hurdles are forming us to become a better family for this child we will one day meet.
Friday, October 14, 2011
“He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition.”
― George MacDonald
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe. Adopting an orphan isn’t ordering a consumer item or buying a pet. Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love.
For years, I’ve called Christian churches and families to our James 1:27 mandate to care for widows and orphans in their distress, to live out the adoption we’ve received in the gospel by adopting and fostering children. At the same time, I’ve maintained that, while every Christian is called to care for orphans and widows, not every Christian is called to adopt or foster. As a matter of fact, there are many who, and I say this emphatically, should not... read moore ;)
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
... figured I would share the main things I learned at mapp class tonight/previously. Probably things we all know, but good to remember.
- Never show/share any negative feelings about your adopted children's biological parents with them. If you do have strong feelings based on knowledge you may or may not have or assumptions you should work through them with a counselor because kids can pick up in the tone of your voice, and expressions your true feelings. Kids identify with their bio parents even if they never met them, so when you dump on them you are dumping on your kids.
- Affirm that the children's parents loved them, even if you don't know what the circumstances were.
- The most important thing to do in order to help hurting children is structure and consistency.
- Children gain trust in their parents after continuing to meet their needs. The child has a need, the parent reacts and fulfills the need, the child relaxes until their next need. As this cycle repeats trust is gained and attachment is built.
- When a child's needs have not been met they do not learn to trust and attach.
- When a child experiences a trauma through neglect or abuse their emotional age often fails to develop beyond the age that trauma happened.
My Journey To Healing Part One brought me to a point where I realized that I did not need to be brave to overcome my fears, but just obedient and trust God more fully. But I felt like there was more that the Lord wanted to show me about this. I did not have to wait long because two weeks after the retreat I learned the second part of all this, at a marriage seminar at our church .
One of the teachings at the seminar was about how in our culture right now women tend to try to overpower their husbands and be the "boss" or "head" of the family. When they said this I felt like it totally rang true. It seemed like many families are run by the women these days while the men take a back seat when it comes to making decisions for the families. I definitely felt convicted for doing the same. Its not that I wasn't trusting mr awesome to make all the decisions for the family. I think we made most decisions together, but I definitely would push my opinion and often try to be the decision maker when possible. Its not that I didn't trust mr awesome... but I just didn't trust that he would always make the best decision... so... yeah I suppose that is a lack of trust. Not due to any failure on his part but due to my unwillingness to let control go.
While our culture teaches that the man being the head of household is archaic and sexist, the bible teaches that the man's job is to love his wife, lead his family, and be obedient to Christ. While the woman's role is to be obedient to Christ and her husband. While our culture may turn its nose up at these roles, men and women are clearly made differently. We think differently, we act differently, we react differently. Not better or worse. Just different. And if we were really formed differently, to take on different roles, then taking the wrong role would be like if I was schooled to be an accountant and then tried to be a neurosurgeon for the day. I don't know about you, but if I had to perform surgery for a day it would be a bit stressful for me. Or if I was an introvert (I AM) and tried to be a politician. That would be super stressful for me.
All at once this hit me. I was trying to fill the wrong role. A role that I was not formed from the womb to full. A role that I was not a good match for. A role that put undue stress on me because it was not the one I was meant for. And if I was trying to fill a role I was not meant for, then I couldn't have been doing the best job. Like when we talk about the parts of the body of Christ, a hand would not make a good foot.
I realized that though my parents were not my decision-makers anymore, I was a wife to a husband who was more than able to lead me in my life. I am married to a loving, gentle, sweet, thoughtful, Christ-loving man. What was I so afraid of to trust him to make decisions for our family and to lead us and stand for us. I can look to mr awesome for where to step next.
Now, I don't mean I shouldn't be able to do anything without asking his permission. Christ is NOT about that type of control or bondage.
But when mr awesome tells me, "babe its ok, get on the plane, we have to go get our son" - I can get on the plane and know that this man that loves me and protects me would not ask me to do something that isn't good for me. And when mr awesome tells me "babe its ok, go to this tall place with me" - I can follow him to the heights and know that he loves me and protects me and will not let harm come to me. I can look to mr awesome for my next step. God will cover our inadequacies. God will make good what we can't.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Meet Me On Monday
1. The best part of waking up each day is... hitting the snooze button and cuddling with the sweetest man in the world.
2. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Probably early 20s... Not that I would ever want to relive those years :)
3. Red or Green Apples? Depends on my mood, but probably red
4. Do you forgive easily? I wish. With people I love and am close to yes. But otherwise not as much as I would like. Usually just in fear of getting hurt again with people I don't trust. I am working on this about myself.
5. If you could live in any home on a television series, which would it be? Hmmm... well if we are talking houses I wouldn't mind any of the houses on real housewives of x. But if we are talking about homes (family) it would probably be the cosby family.
My Journey To Healing began at the Created for Care retreat earlier this year. I didn't even know what was coming for me. I was excited and thought it was going to be a great weekend with my besties, and that I would learn so much adoption-wise, but I had no clue how the Lord was about to meet me.
The first night Dr Susan Hillis asked us to close our eyes, spend some time in prayer, and ask the Lord what He would show us that weekend. I was so excited about just being there that I was totally unprepared for God meeting me right there. Immediately two things came to my mind. The first was fears, duh. Thats what my constant prayers are, "Lord - take away my fears and anxiety". The second was unexpected and out of nowhere, the breakup of my family. Being that my parents divorced about over 12 years ago this seemed out of place. Yes - holidays and special events I have always felt torn, but so does everyone who has divorced parents, and besides I felt like I have handled my pain from that long ago. Anyhow, as soon as it popped in my head I recall shoving it back down thinking "that doesnt make sense, back to my fears".
After the session broke my friends and I went up to speak with Dr Hillis about the talk. I was just kind of tagging along with my two friends who wanted to talk to her, but at some point during the talk something Dr Hillis said hit me smack in the face. It was as if all of a sudden she was speaking through a bullhorn as she spoke. Dr Hillis said "its not about courage, its about obedience". My whole world stopped at that sentence and it has echoed in my head over and over. More on this later.
The reason my friends wanted to talk to her was in regards to fear about their children. There is a pretty awesome drawing Dr Hillis used to explain how we have to teach our children to trust the Lord instead of trusting him through us. And in that we have to trust them to him.
The next day my besties and I went to a quiet time session. Again, so excited about all I was learning I was not expecting some great prayer time. But as soon as I went and sat down to pray the Lord grabbed my heart and drew me in. He started to explain things in my heart that I had never put together before. It was like a story unraveling in my heart. Here it was:
When you are young you didn't have to be brave. You had loving parents and you trusted them. When they told you what to do you would trust that they knew what was safe and you did it. You fully trusted your parents so you were obedient to them. When they told you to get on a plane, you just did it, knowing that they wouldn't make you do something that wouldn't be safe, it wasn't about bravery it was about obedience.
Then the Lord showed me how when my parents split up I felt like I had no home, no family, no stability, and noone to lean on. My parents hadn't gone anywhere but things were not the same. They were broken hurting people who needed my support not my burdens. That was the year I developed panic disorder and stopped doing things that scared me. This was also the last year I got on a plane.
The Lord showed me that because of how I saw my parents I was no longer looking to them for where to step next. I was no longer living my life after my parents' direction, and my life was no longer a series of obedient steps directed by them.
I recognized right away that there was a connection between this and what Dr Hillis had said the night before. "Its not a matter of courage but obedience" more soon...
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The Lord has used many things to help me heal from my fears. On a missions trip to the mountains I found healing from things I didn’t even know were continuing to hurt me. He has put things on my heart (adoptions, missions, etc) that have challenged me to stand against fear.