Sunday, September 30, 2007
Thank you, God, for providing for our family--for providing a way to offset the costs of this adoption of Ellie. Thank you for giving us the desires of our heart. Thank you for the ability and health to work. Thank you for the opportunity you provided, the doors you opened, for me to have this work. Thank you for Ellie. If she is already born, Lord, please protect her; keep her safe, happy and healthy until we can get to her. Prepare her heart, and each of ours, to receive her into our lives. Help us realize how hard this will be on each of the four of us and grant us patience with each other. Thank you for Kevin, who is staying home with a son on crutches, a house that looks like an atomic bomb blew up in it and with all the day-to-day responsibilities that he will have to handle. Thank you for making him strong enough and capable and willing to handle it for our family. Thank you, Lord, for Joshua. He is the best son you could have ever blessed us with. We are eternally grateful that you allow us to be his parents. Help him do well with his crutches. Heal him, Lord, quickly and without pain or lasting damage. Touch his ankle and restore it. Thank you for my parents who are on "standby" to help out if needed at home. Thank you for my mom who worries about who will carry Joshua's tray at lunchtime. Lord, help her not have so much pain. Thank you for your Son Jesus, without whom I would not be able to spend eternity with You. Thank you for my church, my pastor, my friends and my life. Thank you for blessing me beyond measure. In Jesus name, I pray.
Heart contents by Maria at 8:19 PM
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I decided to go down and check on the "Little Man" and WOW was he in pain. His face had broken out in a full sweat, he was near crying and saying, "It hurts!!" I called Kevin to bring down an ice pack and some Motrin. Coach John wrapped his ankle (and not in duct tape, haha!) and Josh lay on the ground.
The boys played an awesome game, defeating Ashland City 44-6. I was sad that Josh didn't get to play since LAST year he didn't get to play in the AC game either since he broke his toe at church before that game. It must be the Ashland City curse (smile).
After the game, we took Josh to the urgent care at Rivergate where he got x-rayed and pronounced officially sprained. The nurse wrapped his foot, put it in a splint, told him to walk with crutches and gave him a "Get out of PE free" pass for two weeks. WHOO HOO, huh??? Of course, he did say that only Josh will be able to determine when he can play football again, a week or two.
Our neighbors, Terry and Debra, loaned us crutches for Josh to use until Friday when Debra has surgery on her foot. Hopefully, he'll be able to walk again by then. Here he is with crutches and wrapped foot:
The best part of the game was thinking up reasons to tell people of how Joshua got injured. Here's a Top 10 List:
Top Ten Excuses Given for How Joshua was Injured:
1. He ran over three players in a tackle. (We aren't mentioning the fact that it was pre-game warm up and that the three players were his own teammates).
2. He decided he was tired of guarding Alec (you have to be Alec to get this joke) and wanted a day to let Alec guard him.
3. The CCHS band practicing distracted him and he got injured.
4. Coach Jeff N. was demonstrating "Gator Killing" with Coach Jeff W and they accidentally hit Josh, and as he fell backward he twisted his ankle.
5. It as all a carefully masterminded plan to make the Cowboys overconfident by seeing an injured player so they would think we were weak and we could take them out.
6. Josh wanted to see what it felt like to have the coaches carry him around the field.
7. Josh wanted to be waited on hand and foot by his mom and dad.
8. He was running to recover a fumble so he could actually carry the ball and was tripped by someone on the opposing team.
9. He was so busy "Working His Off to Kick Yours" that he became unbalanced and fell.
10. He knew if he got hurt he would miss a week's worth of sit-ups!!
On a final note, though, we are very appreciative to all his coaches, who cared for him, carried him and called to check on him during this time. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the football coaching staff we have -- men who are not only knowledgeable in teaching the skills of football, but who also are teaching our son the value of caring for others. Thank you Coach Jeff W, Jeff N, Chuck, Chris, Hans and John for all you do!
Heart contents by Maria at 7:26 PM
Friday, September 28, 2007
We each had dessert, of course. I had White Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle cheesecake. I'm not sure what all it had, but there were chunks of stuff that tasted a lot like Reeses' cup - yum. Here's what's left of it.
I'm not sure WHY we couldn't get a good picture of any of us tonight, but we all looked, off somehow.
Dawn, Dianne and me
Afterward, we rushed over to close down Target. *sigh* There wasn't a Kohls nearby! Does anyone see sarcasm dripping of the letters in Kohls?? Mind you, I like Kohls and all ...
Heart contents by Maria at 11:33 PM
It was informative and I look forward to the next 6-7 weeks of materials so we can be more prepared for Ellie's arrival. Kevin is doing the homework -- GO KEVIN!!! -- since I've read much of this information over the past year while researching. We will both read and study the materials, however.
We turned in our "notice" tonight to our social worker that we are changing countries and agencies. Of course, we will still work with them for our homestudy update and our post-placement visits.
This training is a requirement for almost every agency and we have checked with our new agency to see if it will fulfill their training requirements. Fortunately, it will, so that's one less new expense.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:02 PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
We topped it off with a Peanut Butter cake -- double yummmm!!! Lunch with friends is just SO RARE for me. I can't remember the last time I got to do that and it was so much fun. I wish I had remembered my camera so I could have captured a photo of it.
There were some really cute baby onesies, bibs and shoes that had lambs on them. When we get our referral for Ellie, I want to go back and get a set for her!!
On that front, we are near closing with the loan for the adoption. They have misplaced or lost our appraisal so that's a bit of a stumbling block, but nothing that God cannot overcome. I have printed some of the forms we need to fill out for the dossier and am trying to wade through what we need for USCIS and when. I'm prepared to fill out the application for our new agency and send in that fee so we can "officially" start -- again. Tomorrow evening we have a training session at our current agency. We were told by the new agency to go ahead and complete the training as it will fulfill their requirement for training.
I wonder if Ellie has been born? I somehow, think she has. It makes it all seem so much more urgent -- to get the process complete so we can get her referral.
Our Beth Moore class tonight was absolutely wonderful and SO appropriate. It was about trusting God to provide -- daily -- and how the reason he wants us to turn to Him daily for our provision is because it will helps us develop a relationship with him. She also talked about the two reasons we are afraid to to this is because of pride and fear. WOW!!! Refer back to post from Tuesday to see where I talked about asking friends who were "safe" and how pride was standing in my way of allowing God to help us and how we wanted to do it "ourselves." It was a direct voice to my heart from God -- again. He's talking loudly to me and it's such a refreshing experience. It's the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. That's how I know this time -- it's right.
I don't know if I will blog much in the next few weeks. I'll be in South Carolina from Sunday-Friday next week. I'll return Friday night or Saturday morning for football on Saturday. We leave Sunday to go see Steve and Angie during Josh's fall break. We'll return Wednesday and the following Sunday, I'll leave again for South Carolina. My company called again today with more work. Who would have ever thought our blessing would come from Rob Cramer??? He will know what this means if he reads the blog!!
Cute Josh story -- we talked yesterday about Vietnam and the possibility we could come home with Ellie before school was out this year. We talked about travel and how we could work that with school and he said, "Well, I'm not going to go if I have to miss too much school. I don't want to fail. I want to go to Middle School next year." (funny!!). I told him we would work it out. Then I said, "Well, I hope you don't get jealous while we are there, because Daddy and I will have to spend a lot of time with Ellie." He said, "Well, I hope you don't get too jealous either because I'll be spending a lot of time with her too." CUTE!!!!
"Manna" is God's provision in our life. Jesus is our "bread of life."
Blessings, from our home, to you.
Heart contents by Maria at 10:59 PM
I saw this license plate on a car at a house I inspected Monday morning -- before any of the blessing started to fall down. I'm sure it was a reminder for me.
I am overwhelmed, to put it mildly, at all the blessings we have been showered with just in the last 24 hours.
Five minutes after posting my previous post about how God will provide, He did. My phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID and noted it was one of the companies I work for. I knew I had a late job with them and figured it was them calling to ask me about it. I answered and heard Rob on the phone and I KNEW he was checking on the job. I told him it was right beside me and I would work on it next and fax it to him. He then said, "I have State Farm work." NOW, most of you don't have a CLUE what this means. I, however, did. My favorite work to do is State Farm project work. The inspections are plentiful and you can make a nice sum of money in a short period of time. Don't get me wrong; it's hard work. You start inspecting at 8:00 in the morning and work until 6:00 at night. You inspect as many houses as you can in a day (usually, for me, 75-125/day). You do this in a city that is not your home, usually when it's hot. You have to work whatever the weather (including rain) and you have to do it for a minimum of 5 days in a row. For this project, it will be at least 10 days -- not in a row -- but 10 days. I've never taken on a project this big by myself. My friend Susan always goes with me. This time I'm on my own. I will do a little over 750 jobs. It will provide EXACTLY the amount of money we didn't have to pay the agency and country fees. Do you see? God sold some cattle!!!!
Prior to all this happening, I had sent an email to several friends updating them on our decision to change countries, our financial situation and asking them for help in getting documents for our new dossier and help with our yard sale. I cannot TELL you how many offers of help I got in MINUTES. I have someone who will write my employment letter (since I'm self-employed it requires a CPA letter), someone to notarize documents, someone to get my police clearance letters, many "someones" who have offered to wash tubs of clothes for the yard sale, offers to help sort through the storage building and price things, offers for boxes to pack things up from the house, offers of items for the yard sale and offers to do "whatever" (my favorite ones). HUGE thank you's go to Dianne, Dawn, Iris, Jennifer, Sharon, Susan, Stoney, Lisa and Michelle for all their offers of help.
Later in the day, I sent out an email to some other folks, telling them of a magazine fundraiser we have set up online. Click here to go to the page that will allow you to order magazines at a discount while providing proceeds for our adoption. My dear friend, Diane, in Atlanta, shared this with all her online friends. WOW! What a simple gesture that could mean so much in our efforts to bring home ELLIE!!!
Just an added note: ELLIE could already be born. Would you say a prayer for her today? Ask God to keep her safe and healthy wherever she is. Ask God to provide peace to the mother who felt the need to give her up in order to provide a better life for her. Ask God to prepare her heart and ours that we will be the family for each other that we need. Thank God for His eternal goodness in putting the desire for her in our hearts and for providing a way for us to get her. Ask God to bless you for helping us -- we do this every day; we thank God for YOU.
So, we all are overwhelmed. In more ways than one -- in blessings, in opportunity, and in WORK!!! I will leave Monday to go to Columbia, SC for a week. I will return and we will drive to Ohio with Kevin's mom to see Steve and Angie and the girls who just returned from three years in Germany. We have missed them SO MUCH!! and look forward to seeing them again. When we return, I'll have a few days at home before leaving the following week to go BACK to SC to finish the project week. The following week we will have our yard sale. WHEW!!! In the midst of this, we are trying to gather items for this yard sale by clearing out the house. We have managed to gather too much clutter in our house and in order to ready ourselves for a baby, much of it has to go. We are overwhelmed, to say the least. But we know God will give us strength and that our friends will give us help. What more can we ask for?
I read this on another blog yesterday:
Be assured that if God waits longer than you wish, it is only to make the blessing all the more precious." Unknown
Heart contents by Maria at 6:29 AM
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Heart contents by Maria at 9:31 AM
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Heart contents by Maria at 6:59 PM
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'm so happy that God has finally made them a forever family. Here is a photo of Reed et. al (stolen from the Land blog). Don't they look so happy???? (Isn't he beautiful??)
I was thinking today (after getting up at the crack of dawn to read about their Meetcha Day) as I looked at Jeff crying and Abbey touching his feet (I know this was just to see how soft they were -- I remember touching my baby in awe and wonder!!), that this must be how God feels when we accept his Son Jesus as our Savior and are adopted as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters in Christ. I know He has tears running down His face because He is so proud that we are finally "home" where we belong. I know He must caress our souls in wonder of how beautifully He made us.
Here are some wonderful verses from "God's Little Instruction Book", the Holy Bible, to remind us that adoption was, after all, His idea:
- Romans 8:15 -- So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
- Galatians 4:5 -- God sent him [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
- Ephesians 1: 5 -- God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
How blessed is each person whose life is touched by adoption.
Congratulations, Jeff, Abbey and Reed. May God continue to bless your lives and overflow your cups with love for each other. May you always realize the gifts He has given you in each other.
Heart contents by Maria at 11:20 PM
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I was so glad that "Emilemily" (see earlier post) - Emily and Kirstin were able to come tonight. Josh also brought Carson. Next week, Callie wants to come and hopefully, Braiden will be able to make it. Emily was a little scared, but of course, she is only 5. Afterward she told me, I think I'll keep going to my school. *sweet*
Emily and her Bible
The "big" girls modeling the purses for us
Carah and Cate get their purses
Cate's PurseBrother Michael brought a great message about letting God take care of our problems and to stop trying to solve them ourselves (was he talking to me????). It was very age appropriate and I hope the T&T kids heard the message. I loved his example of the confused state of the Egyptian army who were chasing the Israelites across the Red Sea. You see, I KNOW God has a good sense of humor. He uses it on me regularly!
Michelle and I looked really excited???I hope the kids have a great year. I hope I can encourage them in some way, be a good role model and have fun with them.
Heart contents by Maria at 11:41 PM
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Joshua digging in to get the ball.
Fumble - recovered.
#80 carrying ball - note Joshua to his right behind him
Joshua under #80 -- now down
Jacob Catignani stretches to get a much needed first down.
Alec Harris leaps up to catch a pass
Bailey Baker heading head first to the ground by several White House players.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:00 AM
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I am not a patient person. I never have been.
I continue to question God regularly on why He is making me wait so long for Ellie.
NOW... keep in mind, I DO trust God. I know He is in control, and I WILL wait, but I'm like the kid you tell you will take to Chuck E. Cheese later on in the day. I will constantly ask, "Is it time to go yet? When are we going? What time is it? Can we leave now?" I've just GOT to be annoying to God; I'm annoying to myself sometimes.
So, yesterday I looked and looked at other countries. I even seriously considered Guatemala for a while -- until I read they are having serious problems there with the US Government advising potential adoptive families not to adopt from there at the present. There are issues surrounding baby trafficking, potential of birthmoms being coerced into releasing their children and possibility of inappropriate "donations" being made in exchange for services. *sigh* So very, very sad that people will turn adoption into something ugly. But... I digress.
This pretty much was a door slamming so I said, "OK" -- again.
And then, today... I was flipping through some sale magazine I got in the mail -- some company called Treasures of the Heart (this SHOULD have been my first clue). I get to a page with a picture frame that said, "Love is a Miracle Worth Waiting For" and in it is an ultrasound photo of a baby. The name written under it was ... "Ellie" (of course, are we surprised???). At the SAME time, I look up on TV and they are advertising the upcoming start of Survivor China. Coincidence? I don't think so. I just said, "Ok, I get the hint."
I know God -- I hear you! Go brush the man's hair. For those of you who have heard this story from Beth Moore, you are fully aware of what I'm saying here. If you haven't -- email me, call me, ask me. I hope it makes you cry like it does me everytime I hear it.
Everytime I try to look elsewhere, He thunks me on the head and says, "I told you -- WAIT" And I have to reply, "I'm trying, God, but it's HARD and I wwwaaaannnttt it now!!!" (I'm whining as I say this, I'm sure). God just shakes his head and says, "Kids -- you raise them right and this is what you get. Where did I go wrong with this one???"
PS -- On a more positive note, the Lands (see link to right) are leaving in the morning to go to Taiwan to get Reed. I know they are just in happy happy land (pun intended) right now. I can't wait until they come home!!
Heart contents by Maria at 10:58 PM
Monday, September 3, 2007
Hopefully, fingers crossed and prayers being offered up, the speed up they have promised will occur in 2008.
I read this on a site (www.chinaadoptionforecast.com):
As I've said elsewhere, I believe this is due to Chinese internal politics. An analogous situation in the U.S.A. is immigration. The delay to receive permission to immigrate to the U.S. from some countries is as long as 22 years. This is simply due to a quota on the number of immigrations from those countries. This delay could be eliminated at any time by simply lifting the quota - it would take only a few months to process the 22 year backlog. However, because immigration is a sensitive issue in the U.S., there is currently no prospect of that happening. China's situation is much the same. Adoption is a sensitive issue. China does not want to be perceived as a baby exporter, and all of the articles that have been written about adoption from China are not helping the situation. Apparently they are dealing with this perception by reducing their quotas for international adoption. This has nothing to do with the number of children who need homes in China, nothing to do with how fast the CCAA can process dossiers, and everything to do with political considerations
I find this goes a long way to explaining the true reason for the slow-up in China's adoption process.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:14 PM
So, Kevin got Joshua showered and in bed and I came upstairs to work in our bedroom while he went to sleep. Then it started, he heard a motorcycle drive by. He got scared (why???) and thought someone was going to break in. This is a recurring fear with him lately. He wanted me to come in and lay down with him. I told him I couldn't. I didn't want to start that routine again. He got up and wanted to call his dad to "tell him good night". I reminded him that he already had. The phone upstairs had a dead battery (surprise!) and I told him he could run downstairs to get one. He didn't want to do that as he was afraid (oh yeah! forgot that!). I went downstairs to get it and tried Kevin's cell phone and office. No answer either place. I knew it was possible the cell phone was in the drawer downstairs or on vibrate in the car.
So... I reminded Joshua that we were safe. I told him Sunshine wasn't barking and that she barked if the wind blew. I reminded him that Bear was in the house and anyone would be afraid to break in with Bear in the house (an aside -- we live in a blue siding house; we call our dog, "Bear in the Big Blue House" from the TV show!!). I reminded him the doors were locked and his bedroom is on the second floor. He said he was afraid someone would break the window and come in. *sigh* Again, I explained it was a second story window and unless they were Superman, it wasn't going to happen. I got a smile from that one.
I told him that God was with him and that He had angels surrounding him to take care of him and that He wouldn't let anything happen to him. I asked him did he trust God to take care of him. He shook his head and said he did (eyes still filled with water and a red face indicating crying was near). I told him that God told us to "Fear not, I am with you."
Then I asked why he was not afraid when Daddy was home. He said, "Well he's big and knows how to do stuff like hit and shoot to protect me." And, of course, my heart melted for him. He knows his daddy will protect him and he feels safe when Daddy's home. Doesn't that say so much for his daddy? Of course I said that I understood that, but that I could swing a mean baseball bat -- if I could find it. Another weak smile from him. I told him it was ok to cry if he needed to and he just sobbed. He was so afraid. I reminded him that our neighbor, Mr. Terry, had his front door open and could see our house and would come running if someone broke in. I reminded him of Mr. Jack next door and how strong he was and how he would be here in just a second if we needed him.
But nothing would do. Kevin finally answered at work and talked to him, and he teared up again.
And, I caved. I let him come sleep in our bed. He's snoring quite peacefully as I type.
And I began to look up verses about fear from the Bible. There were 170 verses that included the words FEAR and NOT in the King James Version. Here are some:
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Gen. 15:1
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deut 31:6
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deut 31:8
THE ONE I WILL SHARE WITH JOSHUA WHEN HE WAKES UP:
And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed Joshua 8:1
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Psalm 46:2
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:4
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13
Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. Lam. 3:57
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matt 10:31
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6
Heart contents by Maria at 8:01 PM
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I have almost EXACTLY the same photo blown up to a 11x14 and framed/matted in purple/gold with the word VIKINGS cut into the mat. I took it last year during the playoffs when Joelton beat Greenbrier. How's this for irony?
Heart contents by Maria at 8:36 PM