Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher
In May of 2008, Paul and I wrapped our arms around our (then) youngest child for the very first time. She'd lived for the first 21/2 years of her life in China, and it was time for her to come home! As we bonded with Claire, we grew attached to her country, her first home, her culture. At one point during the trip, we both looked at each other and one of us said what we were both thinking....we will be back, there is another child here for us. It was kind of like feeling the air and knowing that rain is on the horizon.
We just knew.
I spent over a year imagining another little girl coming into our lives. A playmate for Claire. But, God has made it clear that He has a different plan for our family. The Holy Spirit kept nudging me towards a boy. It was little things. And, one day a name popped into my head. A boy's name. And try as I might, I could not come up with a girl's name!
I am a girl that relies on my gut (Holy Spirit) feelings. Things just turn out better when I do. Go figure! Those feelings lead me to my career choice, my husband, my church, adoption and lead me to finding Claire in the last possible place I should have been looking!
Most recently it lead me to looking around the waiting lists of agency we haven't used before.
We first saw his face months ago on a waiting list.
We prayed about him and several other little guys that were waiting. We sent medical records to doctors that might help predict what life with each child would be like. My heart was broken for one little guy when a cardiologist revealed to us that he most certainly needed a heart transplant. Even if we could handle that, we would never be able to get him home soon enough. The little guy disappeared off the list within days of being placed on it. Did he get a family? We will never know.
The other two waited. And waited.
We prayed. And prayed.
Paul felt pulled in one direction, I in another. So I prayed that the child that was not meant to be ours would find his family and leave the list. The next day I pulled up the list to find my son's face. Only my son's face!
The other boy was no longer on the list. We requested to know what had happened to him and were told he was locked for another family! That was all the confirmation we needed to know that this guy was our son. That and the fact that when we called the agency about those files months ago, they realized that they had two boys named Noah on their list and needed to change one of them. Since they had us on the phone they asked us to pick a name for the boy and the only name that came to my mind was the name that had popped into my mind months before....Asher. Name him Asher. Little did I know that I'd just named my own son!
On March 8th, we sent a letter to Chin@ and asked that they allow us to be the parents to this beautiful baby boy. On March 19th we received word that they had accepted our letter!
We put the cart before the horse this time, so now we have to put a dossier together within 90 days! To say it will be crazy around here for a few weeks is putting it mildly. In fact, I have two packages to get off this morning so we can get the ball rolling. And my kitchen table looks like a paper tornado! But, I look at this sweet face....
And know that I have to do this as fast as I can. Because he's so totally worth it!
You might as well know that we didn’t adopt just because we love children. We do love children! But, that is not the reason we adopted.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40
You might as well know that we didn’t adopt because of some deep longing to have a large family. I did, as a child, always imagine myself with a car load of youngins. Paul didn’t imagine anything, he just sort of let it happen and finds himself happy about it now! But, that isn’t the reason we adopted.
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Matthew 12:29-30
We didn’t adopt because of a desire to fancy ourselves as nurses all of sudden or to become versed in medical and psychological jargon. And, we definitely didn’t do it because we wanted to get in the deed-to-end-all-deeds that would “get us a place in Heaven.” Yes, someone has actually said to us that we have secured our spot now. That statement saddened me more than you can know. I don’t believe that my spot in heaven is secured by my deeds, but by the Blood of Jesus. Our deeds are proof of our faith and love for God.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:14-18
We also didn’t adopt to get pats on the back or recognition of any kind whatsoever. Really.
“ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
So why did we adopt ?
Quite frankly, we did it to please God. God pleads for orphans and it often falls on deaf ears. We try desperately to use The Word as our compass and there are nearly 100 passages in the Bible dealing with our responsibility to the orphan!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27
When the day comes to kneel before our Lord and Savior, I don't want to have to explain why I didn't do something. Even though I am just now getting around to saying this "out loud", I hope you have known our hearts for orphans for a while. I hope it has shown here on this blog. But, I wanted to make sure it's loud and clear. LOUD and CLEAR.
I honestly believe that God speaks to us in many different ways. I hear his voice in my church, in my house, in my car. He has spoken to me through the words of a book, the thoughts of a prophet, the advice of a friend, and in His own still small voice. Which I have been privileged to hear. So clearly once that I could do nothing but cry at the sound of it. I still get chills when I recall that night.
It is part of Claire's story. It is part of Isabel's story. They are intertwined. Like the stories of most sisters are.
My first pregnancy resulted in my handsome, sweet twin boys. My second pregnancy happened in August of 2000. In September, I lost that baby. It was early and I knew it happened to women all the time. For the most part I couldn't see being upset about it. I mean, I did have two amazing, healthy children to be thankful for. But, one night it got the best of me.
God had been working on me about adoption for many, many years, but I wasn't ready. Emphasis on the I word. Because of course, I'd made it about me again.
I'd been researching it at the computer and I lost it. Because I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to be pregnant one more time. Which is exactly what I begged for. I poured out my heart that night and begged God to let me be pregnant again.
And in my passion, I spoke some fateful words. Words that would come back to me....thank goodness.
"Lord, if you will let me be pregnant just one more time, I promise I will adopt if that is what you want from me."
And God? In His awesomeness, not only answered that prayer, but all the others I prayed during my pregnancy. I wanted a girl. I wanted her to be healthy. I wanted her to be one of those happy babies that almost never cries. I actually prayed for these things! But, even more incredibly, God actually gave me what I wanted!
Fast forward-It's 2006. Isabel is 4 and Paul and I start talking about having another baby. I'm sitting at my desk one night reading the Bible and thinking about the conversations we'd been having about babies.
It's late. It's quiet. And, that is when I hear it. A voice. His voice. Five words.
And Basic II is so.....er.....um.....almost intermediate.
And so clearly she is headed to the XXII Winter Olympics!
Okay, so maybe I won't book our flights to Sochi.
But she is lovin' this new activity! And she did get moved up because she is ahead of the other Basic I students. Only too bad for her, there isn't a Basic II class right now. So, Miss Andrea, who graduated homeschool by-the-way and is sooo sweet and a great teacher, is going to teacher the Basic II moves during Basic I class while the other kiddos continue on with Basic I.
And because Isabel is such a sweet and humble child,
I'm sure there won't be any attitude!
I'll never have to worry about looking out over the ice and seeing my child showing off.....or ummm....I don't know, acting like a diva because she is getting special treatment!
Note to self: Teach humble attitude before next Friday!
As you know, I've spent the better part of a week visiting with my family and my mom, who is in the hospital. Yesterday I took the kids over for a few minutes. The boys are old enough that they got to go up to her room in the brand spankin' new Heart and Vascular Center. They loved that her bed was motorized, but bummed that they didn't get to take a ride!
But, mom tried to lasso them with her oxygen. Bad girl! Behave or they may not let you out!
Isabel totally snuck up there with Papa was....er.... photoshopped into this picture...... because she is not old enough to actually go up on the 4th floor. We would never break the rules, you know! Never. Nope, not us. ♪♫♪♪♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♪♫ *whistling*
But, I am. Old enough that is.
And apparently, according to the eye doctor, I'm old enough for bifocals too.
In the event that all both my readers have been off Facebook lately and don't know, my Mom is in the hospital. Again. She has been there off and on for weeks. Same problem each time. Her. Heart. Won't. Behave. As in it beats to too fast, won't slow down and then skips beats for no reason. She has a pacemaker. It decided to go on vacation to The Caribbean I think. Mom does not appreciate that. Neither do we!
In the mean time, Mom is scheduled for a heart cath on tomorrow and hopefully this offer some insight as to what the problem could be. This picture was snapped for Isabel, who needed to see her Meme even though she can't see her Meme. Mom smiled for her. I think she looks good in this picture. Isabel has been picking flowers for her all day. Er. Well. Not too many flowers, Daddy. Just a few hundred. Well, you did say they could pick flowers. Right?
Maybe you just showed up here and you think this blog has been abandoned! Eeeek! Please come back! I promise, it will be more interesting than this soon. Very soon. But, for today, I'd just really appreciate some prayers for us.
I'll throw you a bone pie.
Although I can think of cooler and more interesting things to write about, this is all I got for today! My sister A complete stranger and math geek, invited us over for Pi Day after church on Sunday. Pi Day, y'all. ???
Yes, I realize that these two look suspiciously like some people I might possibly be related to and that you may even think you've seen pictures of them masquerading on my blog as my sister and niece.
That could not be.
I am cool.
I am related to cool people.
People that don't put Pi signs on their lunch food!
Or photograph their pizza with the Pi symbol nearby.
Y'all! How embarrassing!
These complete strangers made me take their picture at 1:59 on 3/14.
We finished up our Upward Basketball season with Isabel.
She had a great season.
And, still loves basketball.
Even though the odds seemed stacked against her this year!
Do you see how big these girls are?
Apparently we need to look into something to pump up our little princess!
We also celebrated Paul's 45th 25th birthday!
Lizzie joined us for our annual trip to Daddy's favorite restaurant!
We had a side order of cuteness, of course!
We also had a party at the house. But, I was so excited about having friends over that I completely forgot to take pictures! How sad is that? I don't get out much!
We rounded out all this fun with a date night a fundraiser for our homeschool group that doubled as a date night....simply because there were no children. I don't get out much!
Oh and I almost forgot! One of my favorite things about homeschooling!
The girls take a class twice a month called SMART. It stands for Science-Math-Art-Research-Together. The wonderful mom that puts this together scheduled a field trip to a nearby bird sanctuary.
The girls had a great experience!
Claire was really into it.
She just soaks up everything we expose her to. Y'all I can't hardly keep up with her!
Big sis was exploring with her friends.
Claire followed along!
Apparently it was pretty exciting stuff!
A nature walk.
Up close with baby gators!
And what field trip is complete without an art project? Okay, I admit this was a creative touch to a field trip like this. Kudos to the moms that came up with it! The girls thought it was a great idea too!
Birds of course....'cause duh, it was a bird walk!
It's a new month, so I thought I'd do another Simple Woman's Daybook post. It seems that I get bogged down at the beginning of every month. This is a way to get a chance to blog without the pressure of uploading a lot of pictures or coming up with something original. I like it!
Outside my window.....it is raining again. Winter I don't mind. But all this wetness can go for a while!
I am thinking.....I've got to pay the bills today! Keeping the utilities on = happiness!
I am thankful for.....so much. Paul has a job, the pantry is full of food, my kids are healthy, the taxes are done!
From the learning rooms.....the boys are at Worldview Class and Isabel is doing her typing lesson. Claire is right here with her Leap Pad. I love Leap!
From the kitchen.....rice soup is on the menu for tonight. It's Isabel's favorite soup. She had to eat Chili twice last month. It's the least I can do!
I am wearing.....jeans and a sweater that is so old I can't remember when I got it. It had a hole under the arm but I stitched it years ago....with red thread....that my children remind me they can see every time I wear it! As you can tell that is really bothering me.
I am going....to pick the boys up from class and I am not going to be late. Then I am taking them to lunch because our dentist gave all the kids free passes for pizza from a new pizza joint in town!
I'm reading Hood by Stephen Lawhead. Never read him before, so we will see. Also still reading the book of Isaiah.
I'm hoping.... to see some really good friends this month!
I'm hearing....Claire's leap pad singing Oh Susannah.
Around the house.....we are planning a living room makeover for next month! Excited, but I would be more excited if we could get new carpet. Maybe next year!
One of my favorite things....seeing all the laundry on the bed that is actually folded, y'all! FOLDED!
A few plans for the rest of the week....Duggars on TV tonight, Claire's OT is tomorrow, Claire's PT is Thursday and Friday night is date night! Paul and I will be at an auction to raise money for a Home Education Learning Partnership.
A picture for thought:
My Chinese daughter would still rather eat Tex-Mex at Moes that any Chinese food
any. day. of. the. week. Period. What's a mom to do?