Sunday, July 29, 2007


God has really been speaking to me today.

A little background on this story. Right as we were getting our dossier for China ready, we saw a "Child of Promise" (a child that has some kind of special need) that we were interested in. We decided against applying for her as it didn't feel right at the time.

We later found out that she was matched with a family that is on the Bethany Forum list. They named her Ellie. I have followed their story, corresponding with her mother through their LONG wait for the LOA (letter of acceptance???) which is almost the longest wait in history. Most folks have received their's in a little less than three months (58-80 days). They have now waited 133 days and still don't have it.

Today I read a post of hers and went, "WOW! God is talking to me with this one." I'd like to share what she wrote . . .

Yesterday, as I was walking, the Holy Spirit brought scripture to my mind, scripture that brought me comfort.

I remembered words that Jesus spoke to Peter, before Peter denied Christ. He said, "Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."

I pray that you can take comfort from these words, too, that somehow knowing that Jesus Himself has prayed for you, you will find the peace from the Prince of Peace, even in the midst of your mourning.

In light of the fact that I have felt our adoption process is being attacked by Satan right now, this was so perfect. I know God led me directly to this post as it was written July 10 and I had not read it until tonight.

Thank you, God, for leading me and reminding me and comforting me during this time.

Update on my mom

Mom is still in quite a bit of pain from her kidney stone. She thinks it has moved down some and that her body is trying to pass it. Due to it's size, I am concerned. She is scheduled for a full body MRI Tuesday but said she will have to cancel it as she cannot sit or lie still with this pain.

Continue to pray that she will either pass or dissolve this stone and that when she does have the MRI it will show that whatever mass or cyst is in her kidney will be gone.

I still believe in miracles. I know God is still in the miracle business. Here's a website for you to visit. God allowed me to be a part of praying for this miracle. Read through it and you will believe in them too.

Adoption Update and some decisions

Kevin and I have friends, Anita and Mark, who we met through Families with Children from China - Nashville. They adopted their BEAUTIFUL daughter, Kaylin from China recently. They moved to Florida just a while ago but we still correspond on our adoption forum and by email.

She and I were "talking" by email about our current situation with our agency. She gave me the most wonderful advice and I know that God used her to say this to us. At the end of her email, she wrote:

I’ll be praying that you CLEARLY hear God’s voice on this. Let me share something else that may not make sense right now…..TRY VERY HARD to leave the money out of it. I say that because if God has another country in mind for you guys for whatever reason, holding on to that money may prevent you from hearing Him…..NOT that you don’t have the RIGHT to get it back, but allow Him to direct you despite what you think you may lose. In the end, you may gain more than you realized that only He could have done if you let it go.

So, today at lunch, I asked Kevin, "If there were no obstacles at all to our adoption and you could choose, what would you choose?" After some thought, he replied, "I would go to Taiwan because of the quicker time frames." I asked, "Would you still go to China?" to which he replied, "Yes, I think I would."

From that point, it was so easy for us to make a plan for how to overcome these problems. We feel like the devil is attacking us in this process to try to keep us from adopting. He knows that we are going to raise our children in church and in a Christian home. He knows our ultimate goals for them will be that they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and he knows that they will be one or two more in God's army against him.

We have a plan. We will allow God to direct it and show us the path more clearly by the choices He makes during our process. We are willing to stand up against decisions by our agency that we feel are wrong. We realize they hold some control over our adoption future because they have our money, our homestudy and could toss us out of the program, but they cannot have it both ways. They cannot dictate to us that we cannot get a refund and cannot go to another country. If we were to get pregnant, as long as the child was a year old when we adopted from China, there would be no problem. They should not, as a Christian adoption agency, be allowed to discriminate about our choices of how and from where we choose to add to our family when we feel we are being led by God to do so. And, this concurrent adoption policy was not in effect when we signed on to the China program. It is not a CCAA policy -- it is an agency policy. I have printed lots of cases from the internet of multiple agencies who are allowing this concurrent adoption to take place. We do not have a contract that I can find. I will call tomorrow to try to get a copy of anything we might have signed that I didn't copy. We are prepared to fight for our child/children who we do not know yet. We know she/they are out there and need a home and we are willing to be used by God to provide them one.

"Greater is he that is in me than is in the world."

"Ellie" at church today

Today was a good day. I needed a good day. Church always makes me feel better, no matter what is going on, when I leave I am always glad I went.

Today, we were asked to teach the Pre-K 4 year old class. Now, "teach" is a relative term here. We hope we taught them something and made sure that before they left they could tell their parents they learned about "the son that came back home" (ie., the Prodigal Son). They were a great group of kids. One girl told me about the time when she was "little" (smile) when she was underground fighting with a dragon that had fire coming out of his eyes and how her daddy had to get a backhoe to dig her up and save her. WOW!!! And she's four.

Joshua helped us in class today, and he was such a good helper. He took care of snacks, passing out the sheets, playing with the kids, pushing kids on the swings. He has gotten to be such a little man! I'm so proud of him. When we got in the car he said he didn't really like playing dollhouse with the little girls. Kevin told him that's what his sister would want him to do and he said, "Well, she'll be my SISTER. I didn't even know this little girl." He's got such a good attitude, right now, about Ellie.

The best story was about a little girl who was new to class today. I think she might have come with her grandparents. She was very outgoing and wanted to play with everyone. I liked her. The first little girl I mentioned above was playing with some dolls. I asked her, "What's your doll's name?" She replied, "I don't know." And then the visitor said to me, "Her name is Ellie." I just stopped and stared at her. I said, "What did you say her name was?" She said it again, "Her name is Ellie."

So.... imagine my surprise. Of all the names she could have picked, she picked Ellie. A "God thing" -- most definitely. Another reminder from Him that we are doing what we are supposed to -- most definitely.

And shortly after that I said something to this same little girl -- off-handed, really -- about how Jesus loved her (she had done something nice I think) and she looked at me, really confused and said, "He loves ME?" My heart melted. I think, maybe, no one had ever told her that before. We take so many things for granted. I made sure she KNEW that Jesus loved her and thought she was beautiful and sweet.

Thank you, Lord, for letting me share that with this little girl.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Email from God

I told Kevin today that I sure wish I could "hear" God's message that He was trying to tell us. I said "I'd like Him to send me an email."

Shortly after my last post, I received this email entitled, God's message. I have seen it before. Never, NEVER, has it been more appropriate. Here's MY email from God.


Everything that is going wrong in your life today shall be well with you this year. You have been destined to make it and you shall surely achieve all your goals this year.For the remaining months of this year (2007), all your agonies will be diverted and victory and prosperity will be incoming in abundance. Today God has confirmed the end of your sufferings, sorrows, and pains because HE thatsits on the throne has remembered you. He has taken away the hardships andgiven you JOY. He will never let you down. I knocked at heaven's door this morning, God asked me... My child! What can I do for you? And I said, "Father, please protect and bless the personreading this message"... God smiled and answered.. Request granted.

Hitting the Wall

Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

James 5:13 [ The Prayer of Faith ] Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

Lyrics from Casting Crowns
Praise you In the Storm
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God
who gives and takes away.
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands for You are who You are
no matter where I am and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
This song came to me like a direct song from God today in the midst of my instense hurt and pain over our adoption failures.
It started simply enough with a photo. I took Joshua into daycamp and the director told me she had something for me. It turned out to be a photo of Joshua when he was two at an Easter Egg hunt at school. I took it to the car, looked at it and burst into tears.
It just all hit me full force about the emptiness I feel for not having Ellie here with us and not knowing when she will come. I wondered why God allows so many women to have children who don't even want them, who won't take care of them, who won't love them. I wondered why I was feeling like I was being punished through this long wait. What have I done wrong? I thought of all the families who have had babies and adopted since we began our journey in August 2004. The dream of Ellie is three years old now -- and she's still not here. Is this God's way of telling us we don't need to adopt? Is this His way of saying we don't need another child? How could He put that dream so deeply in our hearts and then make us wait so long -- to feel like when we get in lines they always stop moving.
And then I got the email from our agency, whom we were waiting to hear from. We had asked them how much of our fees would be refunded if we moved to another agency. They know the reason is that we could bring Ellie home in as little as a year if we change programs. They also know we have spent thousands of dollars with them. There were a couple of other questions for them as well and we were told we'd have answers today. And the answer was that we would get back very, very little of the fees we have paid. We have paid on our fees while we were in the domestic program and we will get most of that back but little, if none, of the fees we have paid for China (which was the large amount). How can this be? Knowing that there is no way we can afford to loose that much money, I knew, immediately, that we could not pursue the Taiwan option -- without a miracle. We are not rich people. We are normal, everyday Americans who struggle like everyone else. The irony of this is that, if I were pregnant, health insurance would pay for it. I just feel punished by the whole system because I simply want to adopt a child. I feel forced to pay out thousands of dollars, lose years of my life, constantly wonder when and if she's coming, read and study about attachment issues and worry if she's in a crib hungry or wet, wonder if her birthmother is taking care of herself, eating well, taking drugs. I am forced to live by another country's ever changing rules. China has recently been discussing raising their orphanage 'donations' from $3,000 to $5,000. I get nothing to say about that and I'm not automatically locked in because I have dossier there. And then, the agency that I trusted in their commitment to "find forever families for children" has told me that, even though we are not anywhere near completion of this adoption, all the fees I've pre-paid them for the entire time (required by them) is non-refundable. And, I didn't know this.
Add insult to injury and my SW tells me that I should 1) pray for a speed-up in China -- check that off, do that every day or 2) apply for a Child of Promise (she doesn't understand that I can't continue to emotionally invest myself in the "hope" of approval and have those hopes and my heart destroyed when we aren't chosen. Most families apply over and and over and some are never chosen). She tells me it's a shame that my then social worker didn't tell me about my ability to go to another agency and Taiwan's relatively short wait time and that for only a small portion of what I've paid in, they could have just done my homestudy. (Could someone please explain to me what they HAVE done other than my homestudy and mail my dossier to China because I'm not sure and I haven't been told). She tells me she would have given me this option. Well, hallelujah, no one did -- so that will now cost me between $6,000 and $7,000. And, you can still just loose that and go with the Taiwan project. *sigh* Yes, that's really, really an option -- not.
The reality is that this month -- read this MONTH -- China will refer dossiers logged in November 15-21 or 22, 2005 That is ONE WEEK's worth of referrals. The past several months have not seen over 7 days worth of referrals at a time. One month included 2 days worth -- TWO DAYS!!!! At the rate of 7 days per month, we have 57 weeks to go through before they get to us. That is 57 MONTHS or almost FIVE YEARS!!!! So what is that about the probable speed up???
So I did what we women do best when our emotions become so pent up we feel like we are going to pop -- I cried -- again. I asked God "Why?" I told Him that I trusted that He knew what was best for our family and that I would "praise him in the storm", but I asked "Why?" -- over and over. I wanted to know why he would reveal this so short option to us -- only to have the door slammed on our fingers. I know there is a reason, but my heart is pounding with pain to loudly to hear His answer. It make take a while to hear the answer.

I have given myself this day to be sad and wallowing. Tomorrow, I will not allow it I will go back to the plan of waiting and searching for other ways around this hurdle. The rollercoaster ride of adoption will continue. I'm certain it will not be last tear I shed through this process. I just hope I am up for it. I suspect I will have the above verses memorized well by then.
ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE: Joshua's teacher called today and he got Ms. Stroup. She is a WONDERFUL Christian woman who goes to our church, and we are SO BLESSED by this. She knows how to deal with ADHD as we have talked about it before and I feel so confident about this year for Joshua. I told Kevin that God really knew I needed that blessing today in the midst of this sorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Joshua -- Giving up TV????

Yesterday on the way to day camp, I said to Joshua that we had found a program where we might could bring Ellie home in a year instead of 3. He said, "I vote for that one!". I said, well, it will require some sacrifices on our part. Now, mind you, what I meant was that I would have to go out of town to do some project work to pay some things off more quickly than we had planned. Our "great plan" (Man plans; God laughs) is for me to stay at home with Ellie and do QA work from home -- like I'm doing now, only cutting WAYYYYY back and cutting out field work altogether. Ok, so, it's more like MY plan, but I'm letting everyone else buy into it with me ....

Oh, look, I got off topic.

So, in response to my having said we'd have to make sacrifices, he blurps out, "I'll give up TV for the whole year if that will help." Bless his heart!!!

He has just recently been learning about what things cost to run a house. We have started explaining how much a mortage is, how much cars costs, how much electricity is. He asked the other day if we had to pay for TV and we explained that we did. So, I guess he associated that with a way to make a sacrifice. Now, for those who know Joshua well, you will know that he LOVES himself some television watching time. Drake and Josh, Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Full House, Cory in the House -- basically Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows -- he loves them all!! So this was a huge offering on his part. He truly does have a good heart.

I wanted to record this so when Ellie comes home, and he gets tired of her -- as he inevitably will -- I can show him how he volunteered to give up television for a year to get her home more quickly.

And, another story about Joshua's thoughts about Ellie. Today we were driving home from daycamp (we have the BEST conversations in the car) and he was talking about some boy at daycamp who was bragging about being rich. I asked him what made him "rich." He said, "Well, he has an in-ground pool, a big house, 3 dirt bikes and 4 - four wheelers." To which I replied, "His parents might be rich, but he is not. And... did you know we are rich too?" His eyes got big and he said, "How?" I told him we were rich because we had a house to live in, food to eat (we are never hungry), we are all healthy, we have a family that loves each other, we are all saved and will spend eternity together with Jesus in heaven AND we were going to get him a sister. He sat there a minute and said, "Well (kid's name) doesn't have a sister so I think I'm luckier." Then he said, "You know why I'm luckier?" I said "No, why?" and he said, "Because I'll get to boss her around because I'm her ELDERLY (no typo there, folks!!)". I stifled a laugh and said, "Well, if you want her to treat you like a king, you'll have to treat her like a princess." He said, "A PRINCESS???? Hmmpfff" and hopped out of the car and went into the house.

I can only begin to imagine the ride we are in for! *big smile* And I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Centri-Kid Camp

Josh and Kevin went to Centri-kid camp in Spartanburg, SC this year at Converse college. I missed them SO much while they were gone -- but I did get the bathroom painted -- yay!!! Here are some of the MANY pictures Kevin took while there of the kids (and adults) from church. They are in the wrong order. After I was done, I didn't feel like re-ordering them. ENJOY! (Tip: Click on the small picture here and you'll see a large one on a pop-up -- it's easier to see them that way!)
Welcome home my guys!!

Warrior women!

Organized Mass Chaos - YUCK!!!

Studying God's word - Quiet Time

The Final Group
Last Minute Check-off List
All Aboard!

This really looks like TROUBLE!

Raring, ready to go

Kevin and Josh -- unpacked and armed with coffee!


Have pillow -- will travel.

Random Photos

I had a few photos on my memory card that I thought I would share.
This is Joshua's cat -- Little Kitty. The irony is that he weighs 17 pounds and wants to eat all the time. There is NOTHING Little about Little Kitty. We found him screaming in a tree while we were out walking one day. His original name was Zaccheus -- shortened to Zach -- but he was so small we took to calling him Little Kitty. He sleeps with Joshua every night. When Joshua was gone for a week to Centri-Kid Camp, he cried every night at his door. He's a cratchity old cat, but he loves his boy.

This is Kevin and Joshua on Father's Day. Am I lucky to have them or what??? They are both the joys of my life!

Prayers for my mom

My mom went to the doctor yesterday and found that she has a stone the size of a raisin in her ureter OUCH!!! There is also some sort of cyst in her kidney. The doctor is gonig to do an MRI on the cyst to figure out what it is.

Please remember her in your prayers. She's been through so much the past year. Pray for healing, freedom from pain and a good report from her MRI. Praying that the kidney stone and cyst disapper -- well, that's great too!!!


So this morning my alarm clock goes off and it's on "The Big 98" and the first words I hear are Gerry House saying, "And it says TAIWAN on it." The guys laugh and a song starts. I have NO CLUE what they were talking about but WOW!!! It was like, "Here's your sign."

Freaky, huh?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Can you "really" change horses in mid-stream?

So here we are, seven months tomorrow into what appears to be a three-year wait for Ellie to come home from China . . .

. . . long pause as I think (ya'll go to the restroom and get a snack -- this could take a while!) . . .

. . . and NOW we are changing horses in mid-stream -- for the third time.

We spent a year and a half in a domestic program before we decided the wait was too long and God moved our hearts to international adoption.

We spent 11 months both waiting and preparing a dossier for China, before we decided the wait is just too long, the timeframes are so uncertain right now and God has moved our hearts to Taiwan.

I'm going to be really honest -- I don't care where my baby girl comes from -- I just want her to come HOME.

It all started with an invitation in the mail that simply stated -- REED IS ALMOST HERE. Reed? Reed who??? Who were these women at church having a baby shower for and WHO WAS REED???? So, I asked Kevin to look over it and he casually says, "Oh, yeah, the Lands are adopting from Taiwan." What??? When did this happen? Why didn't someone tell me about this???? So I "google" Jeff and Abbey Land and find LandLife -- their blog. I read and read and read. Then I rush out to buy FROG (fully rely on God -- see, I remembered!!) presents for Flat Reed to use until "real Reed" gets here. I never considered changing at this point. There was no "seed" planted -- AHHHH... or was there. God took the little "seed" of envy I had that they were coming home so quickly with their baby when I was, AGAIN, still waiting -- and would likely be until Reed started middle school. :-)

So every day I read about the adventures of Flat Reed (see link to the side). And one day, I read the MOST interesting thing. The Lands' social worker was MY social worker -- at the same agency. AND, my agency doesn't do adoptions from Taiwan.

There went the lightbulb (I should really look for some clipart of a lightbulb to go here!). The cogs started turning and I looked over to Kevin and said, "Did you know the Lands were using our social worker?" followed shortly by, "They're coming home with their baby in a few weeks -- they've only been at this a short time. Do you think we should look into this?" I googled and searched and read and read for a couple of days before calling our social worker. Let me tell you, BTW, our SW is FANTASTIC and has more energy than the Energizer bunny! WHEW. Anyway, we talked logistics and she gave me the number for the agency who handles Taiwan adoptions and told me to let her know what I found out.

Today, Erin called. She tells me that WORST CASE scenario, we could be home with Ellie, from Taiwan in 18 months. More likely case - 12 MONTHS!!! Can you imagine??? I still can't fathom this. I was "dug in" for a three year wait and it could be this time next year????? Still reeling from that.

We still have some logistical hurdles to overcome -- like the fact that we have fully paid our agency fee to another agency and we can't loose that amount. We are awaiting a response from the agency as to how much we would get back. That will pretty much determine if we can do this. We'll figure a way -- God willing.

SO... I'm a little excited tonight. Of course, I don't want to get my hopes too high, but I'm more optimistic about the timeframe now. I have learned so much about all of this in the past two days that I would have to type a novel to update, but I'll spare everyone. :-)

Looking forward to updating SOON that we are on the waiting list in Taiwan (which, by the way, usually means a referral in 4-6 months and travel 4-6 months later)! My mind is REELING with the things I'd have to get done . . . gotta' run -- there's a room to paint or something.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pictures at MeeMee's

(reminder, click on photos for larger view)

Saturday, we went to MeeMee and DeeDees and, of course, while we were there, she took some pictures. There was one of Joshua and I that turned out really nice. I like it a lot so I'm sharing it.

He is growing up so fast. BUT ... lest you think him too grown up, I've included some of the more pictures of him with my mom (Mee Mee) and dad (Dee Dee). I think in some of these you'll see he's still a kid at heart.

One of the reasons we went is for Joshua to get his DUKES OF HAZZARD T-shirt MM and DD had had made for him. Here is is with it and his DOH car -- which, by the way, will drive you CRAZY. One can only hear "YEEEE-HAWWWWW" so many times.

And, the other reason was to show DD Joshua's new backpack for school -- which was, of course, a Tony Stewart/Home Depot backpack. Found it at Big Lots on clearance for $8 -- can't beat that!!! I LOVE Big Lots. He really thinks he's "COOL" in this picture.

Today, we TOTALLY missed church. None of us got up until 10:00. I worked until 1:00 and then Josh swam and he and I had water gun fights. He won -- of course -- and I ended up looking like a drowned rat the rest of the day. Kevin vaccumed out the pool and weedeated the yard.

After helping me make a batch of his favorite Loaded Potato Soup, Josh went swimming again -- oh wait, no, he "got in the pool" again. I don't remember seeing any swimming going on. *smile*

It has pretty much been a slow day. I have begun to work on a photo book for Joshua's baseball coach at BLURB.COM. They have a really nice looking product (as opposed to some others I've seen) and their prices are reasonable. I can't wait to be done with it and get it ordered so I can mark that off my "to-do" list.

It's now after 2:00 a.m. I've gotten into a BAD habit of staying up late and wanting to sleep late. Got to break that SOON. School is back in in two weeks and I'll be up with the chickens.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy Photos

While I'm out "in the field" working, I try to find things that make me happy and take pictures of them. I have them filed in a folder on my computer, called HAPPY PHOTOS. More often than not, I still smile (or laugh) when I open them up to look at them. Here are a few of my favorites:

It has occurred to me that the things that make the most happy appear to be animals. I am truly blessed to be able to be out and about to see these great things that many people do not get to see. I truly enjoy the flowers, houses, animals and even STUFFED GORILLAS riding on power scooters riding down the interstate, that I get to see frequently.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Evan Almighty

God is indeed sovereign and knows when we need reminding.

Tonight Kevin, Joshua and I went to see Evan Almighty at Springfield. I love that movie theatre and Joshua can't stand it. It holds great memories for me as the place I went as a child to see movies. We didn't go see a movie every month like we do now. It was a BIG deal to go to the movies to see a movie. I remember seeing my favorite movie - GREASE -- there. I remember when the balcony was open. Recently, the "girls" went to see WILD HOGS (funny!) there. But, I think the place has always been just a huge nasty place. That's its charm, though. Well, that and the fact that we can all see a movie, get cokes and popcorn for under $20.

Anyway, I digress.

We went to see Evan Almighty -- the premise being Evan is a modern day Noah that God visits and tells to build an ark. If you were able to view this movie without being overly analytical and be open to a message from God, it was there. If you let yourself get too overly analytical about "Would God do this or is this man living a righteous life ?"-- blah, blah -- you would get lost in that and probably not walk away with anything.

I was the former. I took this movie as light entertainment and was SO pleased when God was able to use it to remind me of some timeless truths -- some principles to apply to my life.

1. God knows what is going to happen before we do. He is already there and knows how to best handle our lives. His timing is not ours.
2. Fighting against God all the way is truly our human spirit. While it may seem that way, we are not the only ones with a "fight you all the way" attitude toward God. People around us are struggling with that same problem.
3. God only does things to make our lives better. We might not understand at the time what is happening or why, but He does things because He loves us so much and wants our lives to be better.
4. Noah must have had an AWESOME experience looking up to see all the animals that God brought to him to be on the Ark. I can't tell you how moved I was to see all those animals standing there (in the movie) and then walking onto the Ark. ONLY GOD could have accomplished this feat!
5. If we want to change the world, we can start with "one act of random kindness". This was shown in the movie by something as simple as giving water to a thirsty animal.
6. Following God sometimes means we are going to be ridiculed for our beliefs, but God is always faithful to see us through.
7. God doesn't answer our prayers by going "poof" and we get what we want. We have to go through the experience to get the results. The example in the movie has "God" telling Evan's wife that if you pray for patience, God is going to give you the opportunities to develop patience.
8. Family, and time with them, is one of the most important gift God gives us in life -- other than the gift of His Son, of course.

All that from one movie -- and one that the critics weren't too fond of.

Joshua Going Back to Public School

Two more weeks and Joshua will head back to East Cheatham Elementary School. I'm happy and sad at the same time about this fact. I know he has missed his friends and I know he's had a really hard time in private school -- with the kids. However, I am sad that we are loosing an "environment" where Jesus is the normal conversation topic and is integrated into learning.

I fully realize it is our job to teach Joshua about Jesus and help him develop his relationship with God. It was, however, nice to have that reinforced in a place where he spent 7 hours a day. It was nice, as well, to have smaller classrooms. That, however, is about where the "nice" ended. It seems, to me, that private schools are a breeding ground for intolerance of anything right or left of center and a place where children are a bit more, well, mean. Please don't jump on me for these statements. This has just been my experience (and, it is my blog *smile*) from my time in private schools and Joshua's time in private school.

Joshua is a good kid. He has friends that he has had since he was a little boy. He is not, however, without his "issues". Find me a child that is - I suppose. He is a fully active person. He was diagnosed this year, as was I, with ADHD. This does not mean he is a problem, because he is not. He just requires that you think of different ways of communicating with him or helping him learn techniques to deal with the way the "others" in the world are. He is not a "cookie cutter" child. Since his and my diagnosis, our family has been SO much better because we have learned the right way to handle the issues that come with having ADHD. I said to a friend a few days ago that I really wouldn't choose to have ADHD (who would?), but if God needed me to have this in order to help others who have it, to save marriages and people from themselves, I will gladly do it. I hope, one day, Joshua will be able to use this to help others he comes into contact with.

I know that we need to have more conversations about how to handle situations both before and after they arise. I know he needs short conversations and tips so that he doesn't "zone out" on me. I know that I need to have him repeat things and ask him questions about what we talked about to make sure he both heard and understood. I know that environments that are noisy and chaotic are harder for him than most children and overstimulate him. I know that limiting sugar and food dyes help him a lot. I know that giving him short, direct instructions helps better than rambling on. I know that he doesn't function well in environments where people (adults) yell at him, belittle him or make him feel inferior. His ADHD already makes him have self-esteem issues, so I have learned that he has to be complimented -- a lot -- for things that most parents might take for granted in their children. I have to take every opportunity to praise him that I can in order to booster a self-esteem that society has weakened by their constant attack on. I know that he is incredibly smart in ways that other children aren't. He has known, for years, how to re-direct water paths to keep areas from flooding. What child knows this so early???? He thinks of creative things that I never would think of -- he would be a great inventor! He can read peoples' personalities SO well. Ironically, he can't understand why the things he does (pestering or name calling) are so offensive to other kids.

I worry, a lot, about him in public school. I know that he can be easily influenced by others and that he is larger and louder than most kids his age so he immediately becomes a bit of target when trouble occurs. I want him to be happy back in public school, but I want him to be safe, well-behaved and liked. I continue to talk with him about how to be a leader for Christ, instead of a follower. I remind him that God called him early because He has big jobs for him. I can't help but think, that if he can put his headstrong abilities to good, instead of allowing others to lead him into bad, that he will be a powerhouse for God -- especially in public schools.

I can only continue to pray and look for every opportunity to talk with him, listen to him, and get him to talk to me. I know there is a day coming, really soon, when he won't want to talk to me. I feel like the days are limited in the amount of time and influence I have with him. I know I am his mother, but I know that soon -- really soon -- there will come a time when I am ultimately stupid about all things "Joshua". I pray that all I need to make sure he knows about good decision making sinks in before that time.

But, on a more positive note. I'm happy that he will be in a school where computers and art and music are routinely taught. I'm happy he will go back to a school that encourages reading through the use of A/R points. I'm happy that I don't have to find UNIFORM clothes to fit anymore. I'm happy that I don't have to pay TUITION anymore. :-) I'm happy that he will be back with my friends' children -- the kids he has grown up with. I'm happy that he will have a library and will do science projects. There are goods to balance all the bads, I know. I'm happy that when people ask him if he's ready to go back to school, he says, "Yes." This is more than he said about going to his other school. More than anything in life, I want him to be happy. He doesn't have to be a millionaire (although HE'D like to be!), or have a CEO's job or be the world's leading missionary. I want him to do God's will, find a woman who loves him as much (well, close, anyway) as I do -- for life, have children (who tear up his stuff and spend his money and don't pick up their clothes --oops, I digress!), lead a life serving others instead of himself, and, most of all, to be happy.

Parenting is really, really hard. *smile* But the rewards ... well, every day I'm reminded how much they are worth it.


There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of Ellie (Lois Elisabeth Latham) -- our daughter who will be from China. I have a ladybug keychain that I carry on my keys now, and everytime I pick them up I think of her. Her name is from both her Grandmothers, Lois Gertrude and Mary Elizabeth and from my name before I was adopted by my parents - Maria Elizabeth. I'm sure she'll have part of her "original" name as well. Big name for a little girl.

I don't think other people realize how "real" she is to me and how often I think of her. I'm not even sure those really close to me know how often I think of her -- and dream of her. Recent rumors ( indicate our wait will likely go 2-3 years. We have been waiting just shy of 7 months. Yes, the time has gone pretty quickly, all things considered, but knowing that I'll have to wait at least two times this long again, some days, is pretty hard. It's particularly hard when other folks adopt so much more quickly from other countries. When we started, the current wait time was a year.

China is currently referring people whose LID (log-in-date) is November 2005. With a LID of December 25, 2006, it seems so far off -- especially when they have gone from referring a month at a time (in 2005) to days at a time (now). So much speculation revolves around how long the wait will grow to. China officials, in a recent visit to the States, have indicated the wait will likely go to 3 years for those logged in in May 2007 -- which is when the new regulations took affect. I can't imagine that we will be much shy of that mark. It would be really nice to travel in the summer (with school and all), but I don't get any younger each month that passes. (smile!). I remind myself of the sovereignty of God and that His timing is always perfect and that He called us to do this. My head and my heart KNOW these things, but my heart also wants my daughter NOW. I'm a bit impatient (haha). On the other hand, though, I really want to be able to not work when she comes and I see God's Hands in helping us get out of debt and to move Kevin up in his job. I know these things are taking time and that helps with the wait.

God continues to point out to us that He called us to China. We have no doubt that this is where He wants us -- no matter how long the wait.

I visit several websites daily and read several blogs regularly to follow along with friends who have already come home with their babies.

For more information, check out the links below. They are also listed to the right. - Rumor Queen - Bethany China Adoption Forum - Teagan Fleming's site (I went to school with Teagan's mom, Terri -- they just returned from China in April 07). Teagan is such a pretty princess. - The Hoods live in Smyrna and travelled with the Flemings to China. They are friends of our former associate pastor. Jadyn is the most beautiful little girl -- I'm in LOVE with her cheeks! - The Lands are adopting from Taiwan. Reed will be home soon (he's beautiful!). Jeff was our former children's minister at our church. - Our former SW at BCS who adopted Violet from Taiwan. Violet is also a beauty.

So I continue to wait, buy things for Ellie (the closet will no longer hold much more!!), pray for her and think and dream about the day she comes home.

Article - My Son Has ADHD - April 20, 2007

The following was written around the time we decided not to send Joshua back to private school -- April 20, 2007


My son has ADHD. I had to look at this sentence for a long time before moving on with more words. I am his mother, and I also have ADHD. There are days that this strikes me just as much a foreign concept. I remember reading a book, sitting in the floor of Books-A-Million, trying to determine if he had ADHD and thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is ME!”. Imagine my surprise and pain when I learned that only eye color is more genetically passed on that ADHD.

Let me tell you about ADHD. It does not make you a bad person; you are not a bad person if you have it. The parents of children who have ADHD are not bad parents; they are parents who struggle every day to understand how their child’s brain works and responds to its environment and to make decisions out of love and a lot of guesswork about how to best meet the needs of their child. They struggle for creative ways to help train and mould their children’s lives into what God wants for them. They struggle to find the right teacher, the right classroom, the right church, the right neighborhood – to find the people who will love their children for what is in their hearts more than for how their brain works. In more realistic ways, however, they struggle to figure out how to make sure the child remembers to take their homework to school and how to minimize their frustration after having told their child for the 100th time to “go take your bath.”

God has big plans for my son. I know this as surely as I know that He exists. He has blessed my son with characteristics that will make him a great success in the future – boundless energy, determination, stubbornness, excitement for life, leadership skills, a desire to talk to people and a love for God – but some of those characteristics, unfortunately, don’t serve him quite as well as a child who is required to sit in a classroom. He lives every day to the fullest. I am reminded of him last night at church with his head soaking wet, his cheeks red, his breath coming hard. He had come back into the fellowship hall to get a drink – in from playing with friends – and to check to see how the dessert auction was going and asking “Have you bought anything yet?” as he skated on his Heelys back out to the playground. He lives life hard; he loves fully; he plays hard; he enjoys much and laughs heartily; he gets fully angry and fully happy; and he hurts and feels injustice . . . a lot.

He hurts from the unthinking comments made by adults who don’t know that his brain is wired just a little differently than theirs. Comments that are made by people who don’t realize that by God’s choice, his brain circuitry responds entirely differently than theirs does to situations and circumstances around him. I could quote hundreds of professionals who can describe how his and my brain, as well as others with ADHD, works, but all I need to know is that God says that we are “wonderfully and fearfully made.” And as we know, “God doesn’t make junk.” He is, however, labeled with words like “troublemaker”, “bad”, “irresponsible”, “lazy”, “careless”, “mean” and “a bully”. And, in all honesty, there are days he is some or all of those things. There are days, however, that those adults who call him those names display those same characteristics as well. He is treated differently than his peers, by these same adults, because they have labeled him, in their minds, as “bad.” What they don’t see – or choose not to – are the days when he laughs and laughs from tickles early in the morning; when he chooses to clean the desk of his classmate so others won’t call his friend a “slob”; when he gives a dollar to the only kid in class who didn’t get a snow cone; when he gives all his allowance to God instead of what we tell him is the amount he should give; when he hugs his grandmother in the nursing home, when he really might not want to because he knows she needs a hug; when he makes breakfast for mom or dad to have in bed on their birthday; when he loves on and snuggles up with his cat; when he decides to give up his TV to a child whose home burned down and then helped us pick movies the child would like to watch; when he prays such honest and sincere prayers; when he cries because he doesn’t think he has any friends at school and asks, “Mom, did you ever go to a school where you didn’t have any friends?” and when he says, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings; will you forgive me?” WOW! We could all learn to say those words to him more often.

He should, more often, hear the good words that describe him. And he should hear these words from people other than his parents and grandparents – words like “kind”, “caring”, “a good Christian”, “energetic”, “smart”, “good athlete”, “giving”, “helpful” and “hard worker”. And yes, he is a hard worker; he has to work twice as hard as his “non-ADHD” classmates and friends to remember to think before he talks, to crush his natural tendency to impulsive behavior, to slow down and be careful with his schoolwork; to remember which direction the “b” and “d” goes, to talk more quietly, to filter out all the distractions that we don’t notice (pencils tapping, chalk on the board, feet moving, planes flying overhead, people walking down the halls) in order to concentrate at school. He works hard to remember the lists of things that people rapidly fire off that he needs to do -- things that he will need to have repeated or written down; things that he might not even hear if you do not have his attention. He has been punished at school for “disrespecting authority” when the teacher did not make sure he was looking at her before she told him to quit doing something. He wasn’t being disrespectful; he was not ignoring her; he simply did not hear her because his mind was thinking of something else.

And his sweet, sweet spirit…what a blessing this child has to be able to hear adults call him things like, “a bad influence”, “troublemaker” and “mean” and still be able to have some positive self-image left. He’s only nine, you see. And the adults in his life – teachers, church members, other parents and even his classmates – have been saying this to and about him for years. Hard as it is for me to hear people say these things about him, he continues to endure it. And then, sometimes, he gets angry or hurt. And then the adults around are surprised at this “ANGER” (which is always how it is said, of course) and talk about how he needs to learn to control his anger.

I have been so guilty of saying that parents just continue to make excuses for children with ADHD’s bad behavior. God has shown me so many of the errors of my thinking. He has blessed me with compassion for others through seeing how my little man suffers the injustices of adults and other children who profess to care about him, who call him a friend and who claim to be “good” people – mostly well-meaning people who profess the name of Christ, and who I truly believe, feel like they are “helping” turn him into a better person. These are the same adults who feel that “if his parents just knew how to raise him” he wouldn’t act this way. People who do not see the HUGE amounts of improvements he has made since his diagnosis and subsequent addition of supplements in the past year. These people who have no clue what ADHD is – and what it is not.

If my child were in a wheelchair and could not walk, no one would say to him, “If you would just try harder to get up, you could walk.” They wouldn’t say to me, “Well, you just aren’t raising him/disciplining him/loving him right or he would walk.” They wouldn’t call him “irresponsible” when he got to school and forgot his lunch, or planner, or belt.

Neither he, his father, nor I want the “rules” changed for him. This diagnosis is not a crutch for bad behavior. He knows that we still expect the same good behavior from him that we would any child. It seems that we work much harder than most parents to teach him how to respond to situations; how to treat people; how to not hurt people’s feelings by impulsively saying whatever comes to mind; how to cope effectively when he gets angry. It is a daily struggle for him – and yet he tries so hard. And yet, it doesn’t seem to be enough for “others”. We are still the object of much criticism, mainly centered around how we discipline too much or not enough. While we know that reins must be kept tight in certain situations (large groups of children, new situations, parties) so that he doesn’t become overly excited, it appears to others that we are “too strict.” When we are more lenient about the fact that he is so energetic and can’t sit perfectly still, that he is a messy eater, that he sometimes interrupts when we are talking because he can’t wait, we are “not tough enough”. I assure you, we try; everyday, all of us work on improving ourselves.

We are told that we are to labor as for the Lord – not for others. We know that He blessed us with our son. I would have never felt I was capable of raising a child who had any special needs. I am still not; but God is able to supply me with what I need to make it through each day. Today has been one of the hard ones. And today, God provided this sign on the front of a church I passed, “There are eternal reasons for temporary trials.” Today was not hard because of him, but, again, because of adult’s reactions to him. But it is now after midnight and I have a new, clean slate in front of me for today. He will provide grace sufficient for this day as well, and the next and the next. I only pray that Satan is not so loud that I can’t hear the whisper of God reminding me that I only have to answer to Him – that the opinions of others do not matter. I hope I can remember that He is the Ancient of Days who sees all things and will judge each of us accordingly. I hope I can remember that my son is saved by the grace of God and that nothing else I do in life will be as important as when his dad and I led our son to His Son. I need to remember that God is using me to show others what His Son is like. And, when I get really angry at the injustices heaped upon such a little boy, I am not always reflecting the loving image of Jesus. Some days, my heart breaks for him. I know God will continue to gently remind me that His ways are better than mine and that I should “be still” and know that HE is God. He is worthy and capable of all that I am not. My friend reminded me of a song lyric that says, “You came and made beauty of my mess.” I need some beauty to my mess, for sure. I want to remember that He will protect His child much better than I ever can. But, it’s hard because I love this little fellow so much.

I thank God daily for the blessing of my son. I wouldn’t trade one single thing about him – well, maybe I’d trade off his inability to remember that dirty clothes don’t go where they fall off, but, then, that’s another story for another day.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Long time, no update

How long has it been since I posted? I need to make this a daily thing -- it will surely improve my writing skills and let me look back with some reflection on our lives!

I just visited the site for Jeff and Abby Land, our former children's minister at FBCJ, and found their updates on their adoption for Reed (see a link to their site to the right). What a DOLL he is!!! It is so good to see God fulfilling their dream for a child. Their site led to me to Ben and Bethany's site where I was SHOCKED to see that Violet is now 8 months old!!! They have been back to Nashville and have moved to Austin. WOW -- God is sure moving them around! :-) Violet is SO beautiful. It makes me long for Ellie so much more.

The wait is coming up on seven months now and estimated to go as long as three years. THREE YEARS????? Why didn't I know that going in???? I know God has Ellie picked out for our family, but I'd sure like to have her while I'm still young enough to hold her. :-) Christmas 2009???? WOW.

So, I try not to dwell on it too much. I think of her EVERY day. And, when I see sites like Bethany and Ben's and Jeff and Abby's, it aches just a little bit.

On another topic, only three more weeks until school starts back. Where did THAT time go? I suppose that another way of God reminding me how quickly time really does pass. Josh starts football camp tonight. He says he wants to play soccer too -- can we really sacrifice that much time again for two sports??? He is pretty adamant about preferring soccer over football, but I know how well he does in football. We've decided to wait until after football camp to make the final decision. I hate to put us back in the HURRY SCURRY world we were in the last time we tried two sports at once. And then, there is the added fact of school work... that has to be his priority. Last year was a real struggle with school. I'm not sure how changing schools will affect this.

Kevin worked on staining the deck again this weekend. He has done a FANTASTIC job. He has put more hours in that deck than I would have ever imagined it would require. The thing is HUGE. I'll have to take and post some pictures of it soon. It looks really good. The "girls" are coming over Friday for GNO. I'll be glad that it's done.

It's time to get up the "little man" so he can go to daycamp and can get some QA work done and enter some of the work from the trip to Augusta entered.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Augusta Trip

Everytime I complete a project, I say I'm NEVER going on another one again -- and then I do. And, once again, I headed south to Augusta, Georgia to complete a project for State Farm. It was a smaller batch this time -- only 340 or so for me and 450 or so between Susan and Denise -- the person who is training to take over some of my area so I can do more QA work.

Augusta was the trip that ranks second of the most horrible project trips I've ever taken. The first was the trip when my brother, Derrek, died the day before I left. That should put some perspective on the fact that this trip was a close number two.

I won't spend a lot of time on all of the why's of why this trip was so bad -- I'm sure I'll remember it for a LONG time, but one of the reasons was the fact that one of my hoses to my air conditioner apparently has a pin-prick sized hose in it and I ended up smelling gas the WHOLE week, making an apparently unneccessary trip to the dealership in North Augusta (remind me NEVER to buy a car there -- Bob Richmond Nissan, I think was the name) and worrying that I was going to blow up if anyone smoked around my car.

I will say that the SEARS store at the mall in Augusta has very nice people working in their service department. They had already closed for the night, but the mechanic there told me what the problem was, where I could go to get it fixed and that I would NOT blow up should I wait until I got home to fix it. The Nissan dealership would not even come out and pop the hood to see where the smell was coming from. I suppose he MIGHT have felt badly if my car blew up in the lot -- maybe not. I sat in their parking lot and cried for a long time before heading back to work.

It was really hot in Augusta -- well, it was JULY!!!

I'm trying, hard, to think of things I learned while in Augusta -- like the post from SC, but I was in a different frame of mind on this trip, so I didn't learn a lot from the people like I did there. I think I can come up with a few.

1. Have your car serviced BEFORE you leave home.

2. Two is company; three is a crowd. Only travel in even numbers -- or better, travel alone.

3. Waffle House is still my favorite restaurant -- ok, so I have admitted it. I LOVE raisin toast and cheesy eggs.

4. As a side note -- tip the waitresses well at Waffle House. They don't make much and work really hard.

5. God provides sunflower fields to remind us of His glory and beauty -- just when we need it most.

This is my email back home about this experience:

It was the end of a long, hard day. I was driving down the road into an approaching thunderstorm. I had been working since 7:30 this morning and it was now 6:30 p.m. I had cried three times today and thought I was going to either be asphysiated from the gas coming in through my air conditioner or blown up from starting the car.
I drove by it and stopped to turn around to go back to see it. This is the first, closeup.
I will follow with the "big picture" and lots of others afterwards. I asked the owners, who were outside, before I took the pictures. They were a really young couple and he said this was the first year he has done this.
It is absolutely marvelous. Imagine a God who can create something so beautiful and delicate and yet has the power to make lightening streak through the sky and thunder boom -- all at the same time.
It was my "happy" picture for the day -- and God KNEW I needed it.

6. I like puppies (this should not come as a shock to those who know me). In fact, I like most all animals. This puppy was in an adjoining yard. He was just so darn CUTE!!!

7. You do not have to "like" everyone in the world and everyone is most definitely NOT going to like you. All you can do is try to remember the Golden Rule. Of course, this means you have to "love" these people, but I firmly believe you do not have to like their behavior.

8. My mama was right -- you can't change a person, you can either get along or leave them alone.

7. I am particularly fond of Verizon Wireless' wireless internet access.

8. If you drop your camera enough times, it will break permanently. At this point, be sure to have a camera phone to finish with -- *sigh*. This is a particularly bad thing if the camera you are using was bought by your nine-year-old son from his allowance money to take to China with him when he goes to pick up his sister. *double sigh* I guess this means I'll have to buy him another one.

So... another trip down. Some more of life's lessons learned.