Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks......Thanksgiving.....that is what today is all about.  It is about stopping our fast paced lives to take at least one moment and reflect on the blessings we have been given.  Hopefully spend at least some of the day surrounded by the blessings of family and friends.

I have many many reasons to give thanks.  I have been blessed beyond measure.  I have a wonderfully generous, understanding husband; beautiful children entrusted to me by my Savior who died for me so that I may have eternal life. I have a community of friends around me who support my family in every way needed.   I have a home, warm clothes, money to pay for utilities, no need to ever feel hunger, 2 cars, a bed with blankets and sheets....

Yet today, on this day of Thanksgiving, I find it difficult to completely surrender to the spirit of thankfulness.  I CAN NOT move past the fact it has been 2 years since we found out a boy who had been on our hearts and minds for years needed a family.  And he still isn't here.  He is now a boy/child rapidly turning into a man/child.  He is without the love of a family, comfort when he is sick, he feels the pangs of hunger, has never experienced unconditional love.....And I have personal knowledge of what this does to a child. Times 3.

My patience in the process is depleted.  I desire to step over the political lines to champion for my son.  Mama Bear mode is rising.  And though I am thankful to BE a Mama Bear, it isn't always the most fruitful mode.  You know, when Mama Bear could interfere with adoptions for ALL people...not just your own.  Mama Bear is best kept at bay.  But I don't always feel that to be most fruitful for my "causes".  Like my son's well-being.  It's a merry go round my brain just simply can't shut off. 

So it leaves me with this......There is a child missing from my table of Thanksgiving today. And for that, I can't give thanks.  No parent can or should.

But that isn't real life.  So I WILL give thanks for my FOUR children and rest in the knowledge it is all in God's hands.  Please hug and kiss EVERY single one of your children.

Happy Thanksgiving~

Thursday, September 5, 2013

HIS story

Every child has a different story of their introduction to their family. Both biological and 2 stories are alike.  Here is our newest son's.

Technically, Dominic's (his American name-we aren't able to share his Thai name or picture publicly until we finalize) story starts with Gabriel's story. In fall of 2007, we found Gabe on a waiting child photo album and he became our our hearts. We received video of Gabe playing ball with another little boy and, in short order, found out he was also being adopted to a family in America. And they were best friends. We kept in contact and looked forward to bringing our sons home and helping them stay best friends.

We traveled first to bring our son home and took presents for his best friend, from us and the other family. We spent an afternoon, playing with these boys, taking tons of pictures and enjoying seeing these boys together. Only we understand the notion it would be awhile before they could see each other. No 8 year old understands the distance between Thailand, America, the Midwest and the west coast! But even we didn't have a clue the enormity of what would evolve from that carefree afternoon in Thailand.....

As happens in adoptions, paperwork errors happen, situations change, children can be adoptable one minute and not the next for reasons unknown (and rather unacceptable) to the most seasoned of adoptive parents or workers. And that happened to our Dominic.

By the fall of 2010, we had put in many phone calls, prayers and held many conversations trying to figure out what could possibly be done to change this situation. We just could not accept the fact our son's best friend would not have a forever family; never know the unconditional love of parents and siblings.

Gabe would share stories of the conversations he and Dominic had about coming to America. How things that happened to them, wouldn't happen here. How could we tell him his best friend wouldn't be coming to America? And that left his future rather bleak.

In November of 2011, we received one of the craziest phone calls. EVER. I still have it saved on my phone....I simply can't erase it. Our agency's contact for Thailand was wondering if we could give her a call. We couldn't return the call until the next day....what a long night!

Our son's best friend for 8 years was now adoptable. No explanation. His paperwork showed up in a packet along with other children's. Before they started advocating for him, they wanted to ask if you were interested in adopting him. Since we had been so interested in what happened to him. WOW Talk about a heart pumping, tear flowing conversation!

We weren't in process, we weren't even thinking about adding another, let alone a 3rd within the same age range, still paying for the last adoption.....blah, blah, blah.....many reasons NOT to go forward with adding him to our family.

But simply put, God called....we answered.....stepping out in faith He would provide every step of the way.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Long time away

I am not a great story teller it seems.  I am committed to telling it though.

Pregnancy vs. Adoption, my take. 

When you are pregnant, you are given a due date.  It is a general time frame of when that baby will be born.  It can vary a couple of weeks either way.  But by, say, 43 weeks, your baby will be out of the womb and part of your physical family.  From my understanding/viewing, pregnant ladies do get quite tired, uncomfortable, and ready for baby to come near the end of the pregnancy. 

When you are adopting, you are given a time frame as well.  Each step of the way is actually given an "average" time frame.  There can, however, be a HUGE swing that makes up the average.  You could be 2 months, or you could be 22 months.  And that can happen for each step.  Added to the mix is the fact TWO governments are involved in the process ( enough said!) and at least a few agencies, in two countries.  Days off, holidays, laws, political unrest, other families adoptions, finances, all play a part in this balancing act we are engaged in.  All these factors, and more, make it impossible to pin point a "due date".  Even allowing for a month allowance either way, it can't be done.

And that can be difficult, at best.  'Cause we have a sweet almost 12 year old boy who belongs here.  In our house. In his bedroom with his brothers. Loving parents having blessed him and kissed him goodnight.  Not in a cottage with 31 other boys and one caretaker watching over them.

This is our 4th adoption.  I have learned a few things along the way.  I handle having a son living on the other side of the world the best I can.  I got lost at times when we were waiting for Jet.  Leaving my "here and now" life wondering how my son was, what he was doing, when we were going to be able to travel, researching hotels, airfare, adjustments, etc.....I have 3 beautiful kiddos in the here and now!  Who are rather rapidly growing, maturing, changing into tweens and teenagers.  I can not blink or get lost.  I will miss too much. 

So I have to compartmentalize. I think about #4 EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  Let me make that perfectly clear.  He is prayed for in our morning devotions before we start our day. He is prayed for in my daily prayers.  I think about him whenever planning school, for every holiday, birthday celebrations, family get togethers, when purging clothes, toys, books, when buying new clothes, new get the idea.

But I, just like you, have many things I need to fit into each day. And for the last almost year, with each setback, problem, hiccup we have had, I have not been able to expand more mental energy on things like blogging about our boy.  It causes me to focus SOLELY on him and the fact we are really NO closer to have an idea of when we will be able to hug him.

It makes me wish we were financially well off.  The kiddos and I would be living in Thailand hanging out with #4 every day.

So I couldn't blog. But now I need to, so I will.  Hope you enjoy his story. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jumping, Refusing and Breaking

We are a family who loves music.  Hubby plays guitar and sings.  We have music playing a lot of the time.  He has exposed the kiddos to many different kinds of music.  I like all kinds of music, however my choice is ALWAYS Christian.  Jesus music as we call it. 

My days are filled with lots of "noise".  I home school our kiddos as well as provide day care for 2 families.  One 9 month old boy and 3 brothers, age 5, 2.5 and 1.  My house can get loud!  I enjoy silence at times.  I also chose to carefully expose myself and my kiddos to things that will bring me comfort, peace, support.  I physically can't listen to a "regular" radio station because of the ads. I need the calmer songs.

During our last adoption, I had a particular song that spoke to me.  I had read a blog post by someone awhile before we started our 3rd adoption and it came back to me then.  It resounded in my soul and stayed there through the whole journey.

I am small
And I speak when I'm spoken to
But I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name
Just Your name and I'm ready to jump
Even ready to fall...

Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

(Brave by Nichole Nordeman)

We were "set", we had a girl and a boy.  We had no known plans to grow our family any more.  Financially we were tapped out.  But none of that was important when God called.  Ready to long status quo....

And we jumped.

And that jump has brought us to this jump. Directly.  For we wouldn't know of this boy without our first Thai boy.  But that story is for another day.

Early on in this adoption journey, I had a Josh Wilson song take hold of my heart.  The refrain and this particular verse explains exactly what my plea for the orphan embodies.  For many people to feel this moved.

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose not to move
But I refuse

I can hear the least of these, crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet of You, oh God
So if You say move, it's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
And show them who You are

I have been to the orphanage.  I have counted the many faces looking at my hubby and I with hope, felt the arms reaching to touch me and have NOT been able to forget it for the last 3+ years.  I still can't wrap my head around the numbers.....36 kids in Jet's cottage (not orphanage!), and only 58 kids adopted in a YEAR to the US.  I honestly hope I am never able to wrap my head around those staggering statistics.  I never want to think that is acceptable. 

When we were approached about this adoption, the line I put in larger print is what God continued to play over and over in my mind.  I hadn't wanted us to just sit around, my heart was burdened with what could God be calling us to do.  Then He handed me an answer.  A fourth adoption. But what were we going to do about it?  We could choose not to move.  That would have been easier, but easy isn't what He promised.  And it then goes back to our first 2 adoptions and my favorite saying by Harry Holt, pioneer of international adoptions and co-founder of Holt International.  "Who will answer for these children?"  I don't want to be standing before my Lord and be found wanting. 

So we refused.  And we jumped.

A couple of weeks ago, this refrain ripped through my heart as I was tuned in to my Jesus music.

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners,
open our eyes to the world
at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, 
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

(Casting Crowns-Jesus, Friend of Sinners)

Sometimes lyrics just scream at you, know what I mean?!  I feel even more convicted in His sadness over there being well over 150 million orphans on earth.  And it gives words to what I have been feeling since 2007 when we started Jet's adoption after seeing how many boys age 5-7 were available for adoption.  Since our cab ride from the airport in Bangkok at 2:30am when a group of young kids, ages 8 to 10, surrounded the cab on a very busy street, trying to earn money.  From meeting Jet's cottage mates, seeing those eyes, feeling those hands. 

Heart breaking.  He is breaking my heart.  Asking me to see, feel, refuse to NOT move and instead to JUMP.  He is allowing me a glimpse of His heart break as He watches us walk past those less fortunate. 

I thought I needed to put that feeling "away".  Others have gone before me, others have seen poverty, many have to know the number of children who need a home..... I now know, God has done this for me.  He has broken my heart so that I may see.  Maybe for the first time ever.

So long status quo, I think I just let go........

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We have been a family of five for 3.5 years now!  It seems like Jet has been part of our family forever.  I can't imagine life without his energy and goofiness!

I have missed blogging.  I LOVE sharing my passion for adoption. I considered the blog I had started during our wait for Jet.....Jet From Thailand.  But it seemed like that was Jet's blog.

I recently came to the realization that my blog added an element to Jet's life story.  Each child in any family has a different story.  In a lot of families, the first child has a ton of pictures.  The second child probably not as many, at least of them alone.  The third child and fourth, it tells a different story.

Adoption adds another whole dimension.  There is a time when your child isn't in your care.  And very little is usually passed along or known about that time.  Our first 2 children came home at 4.5 and 5 months.  Lost time definitely.  Our 3rd child, Jet, came home at 8.5 YEARS old.  Praise God, he came home with a lot of pictures.  Way more than we could have ever expected. To be honest we expected nothing.  But still a lot of lost experiences.

I have a bloggy friend who uses her blog to chronicle her family's life then makes it into a book for her kids.  My realization was I could do the same thing, sharing all we went through to get Jet and our time in country.  It will add to Jet's history, his life book and his story.

So now we are waiting again....for our 4th kiddo, a 3rd son, from Thailand again.

And here begins his story........