Thursday, July 26, 2007
We came in from swimming to find a nice big envelope from the US Dept. of Homeland Security with our Pre-approval to adopt. Praise Jesus \o/!!! We are another step closer to bringing home our boys.
A group just left yesterday for Ghana to bring supplies to AAI's Enedaso House where our boys are. You can follow their journey here
In the picture on the top of their Blog our 2 handsome boys are on the right. You can see our younger boy playing soccer in the You Tube clip. He is the tallest one.
Praise God for all the adoption happenings, and for wonderful people caring for God's children in James 1:27 fashion!!!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Our 5 yo ds had a little friend over for dinner the other night........
He told her, "We have a baby. She is the CUTEST baby in the WHOLE. WIDE. WORLD....
She's even cuter than...................................................
a LEGO!" :o)
He and his friend are pretty Lego Cute too.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I was very excited for them and shared that.
He responded with, "But unlike some people we feel there are enough children around here in need without going to far away places."
I replied, "You go where God calls you."
He said, "Well, I know you just wanted that exotic flavor in your house."
We were then interrupted... providentially I believe :o).
I just don't get why this is an issue with some people. There are children all over the world in need of families. There are little ones who need Mamas and Daddies all over the world. How sad that we would judge people adopting from America as more righteous somehow or people adopting from overseas as more righteous somehow..
I really believe that you go where God calls you. We have friends who have adopted domestically. We have friends who are foster parents, and I am in awe of them, and the call God has on their lives. It is a special gift to love a child so selflessly that you can let them go...foster parents are true heroes to me. People following God's call wherever He is calling them to is inspiring to me!
We have friends who have adopted from many different countries. What a mistake it would be for us to rank who has the greatest need. What a mistake it is to believe that only those in our close vicinity who look like us and talk like us and act like us are our only true neighbors..
Luke speaks of a scribe who asked the question of Jesus..
"Who is my neighbor?"
The Scripture tells us this Scribe was asking Jesus to justify himself. He was trying to prove what a really good guy he was. He really believed he had followed the command to" love your neighbor as yourself" perfectly..
Jesus' answer to the Scribe was the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The Scribes and the Pharisees believed that the command to love your neighbor only pertained to the Jews..not to the Gentiles, and certainly not to the Samaritans. The Samaritans were detested by the Jews of that day. For Jesus to hold up the Samaritan as an example was really radical. For the Samaritan to be the hero in the story was mind blowing.
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:29-37
Matthew Henry has this to say in his commentary about this passage..I think he sums it up perfectly.
So, don't let someone try and steal your joy for following God's call on your life. He has a plan for each of His children, and it is a unique one. I praise Him for not being a cookie cutter God.
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works! Psalm 105:1-2
Two years ago today we met out sons for the first time. It was an amazing moment in our lives, and one we will cherish for the rest of our days. We are so incredibly blessed to have been given the gift of raising these two little boys. They are gifts from heaven. Many times people will tell us how "lucky"our little boys are to have us, but that is not true, we are the ones blessed and honored to have them. The love and joy they have brought into our home and lives can not be measured. Thank you Jesus for our sons! \o/
Happy Family Day Sweet Boys!!!!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I have found the best way to keep our preschoolers happy during school time is to keep them active and involved. Every day I have a different little one help me in the kitchen in the a.m. This usually involves helping me make bread. I like working one on one as this gives us special time together, and it is less hectic than 4 little ones all wanting to do their part.
After that we do a tidy up of their play area. This is usually just putting away toys, sweeping, and dusting.
*****The Happy Clean-Up crew***********
We then have our prayer time, Bible verse, singing time, letter of the week, and "Phonics Lesson". We are using My Father's World K for this time for our 2-5 yo. Our 5 yo also does Abeka K Phonics and Bob Jones K Math and Handwriting. He is reading short words so during our short phonics lesson he does it in sign language.
****** *Wee Babe Signing Please****
We then do our "Center Time"
We do three centers/day with each child doing 10 mins. per center. Our 2 yo has his own centers.
Here are the centers we currently do
Art Card Matching Game
Box Center (In this I have different shaped boxes ;circle, square, heart and a small wallet with snaps and zippers, a mint box, and a small glass jar) I put different little buttons and beads and they have fun exploring and rearranging the boxes. This is great practice for snapping, zipping, and fine motor skills)
Sorting glass rocks with tongs
Pouring water or rice into several containers w/ or w/o a funnel
weighing rocks w/a small scale
A Big Kid Lego- This is a treat as we don't allow the Littles to play w/ the Big kid Legos. They enjoy putting the bricks together under my supervision.
Tracing Letters in Corn Meal
Crushing Spices w/a Mortar and Pestle
Digging for "treasures" in rice with a baby spoon and small tweezers (I hide counting bears, and beads)
Doing stamps on paper and coloring them in
Play-doh w/utensils (I have them make food out of the Ply-do and then practice cutting with child size fork and "knife"
2 yo centers
I don't expect our 2 yo to spend a lot of time doing centers. He loves sitting w/us during our Bible and song time.
He enjoys his centers, and when he is done he usually heads to his high chair for his daily banana feast.
Dr. Kit w/ Baby
Transferring beans from cup to bowl
After this is over we do a craft..
Followed by snack time..
Followed by.. a Signing Time DVD. Signing Time has been GREAT for our adopted kiddies learning English. It is multi sensory and, it has helped things click, and they really enjoy it. I am not big on DVD's, but I love this series.
We then head outside for playtime..
We then head inside to have more playtime. Each of the three boys has blankets which I made. They sit on them and work either with large Legos, wooden blocks and cars, toy soldiers, or their wooden train tracks. They rotate blankets every 15 minutes.
This gives me time to correct older children's school work or to give help. I also do this during naptime, and during their Signing Time.
Wee Babe wanders from Blanket to blanket playing.
We then have lunch and naptime. .
During this time Sweet Pea is either napping, eating, scooching, or on my hip.
Our afternoons vary depending on the day, but usually include swimming, free play, park, or errands.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Be still, and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10
Yesterday we were fingerprinted for Department of Homeland Security, so hopefully our pre-approval will follow shortly.
We had final papers notarized for our Dossier and sent out. Our Dossier is set to go to Ghana in less than 2 weeks. Yippee!
We also mailed our Welcome Bags for our new sons. AAI allows us to send small items, a shirt, disposable cameras, and photo albums. This really is a fun part of the process. This time I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. With our boys being older I was keenly aware that they will have definite opinions of us and our family. I wondered as I put the photos together what they would be thinking as they flipped through their albums for the first time.
The letters we wrote were a little tricky too.. I mean how do you word "Hi we are your new Mama and Daddy!" I pray that God will use the words we wrote to encourage and comfort them. This must be a scary time for them.
So, we are done with the paperwork from our side. There is not much left for us to do except "Be still". I find this the hard part of the process, but it is also the faith building part. God has an awesome plan and we will rest in it. It may take letting it go, and being "still" over and over again, but He is so faithful. His plans and His ways are perfect.
Galatians 5:13 describes her heart perfectly "Let us serve one another in love.." Our daughter has the heart of a servant. It truly is a gift. I can remember when she was not quite 2 she would help me set out the clothes and shoes for church. She delighted in neatly lining up the shoes of her siblings. She dearly loves her little siblings, and they adore her. I am amazed at how intuitive she is. During the winter I was perplexed to find every single pair of her jeans had holes in the knees. She is not a rough and tumble kid...what I noticed was she is constantly playing with the little ones. Her jeans are a testimony to her love and her heart.
Happy Birthday Pumpkin Girl!! We love you!!!!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Yesterday was our eldest son's 13th Birthday!!!!
Happy Birthday to our awesome son. He is so kind, considerate, and responsible. He is always willing to help, and the younger children simply adore him. We are so excited to watch the young man God is developing. It is exciting to watch his love for Jesus grow, and we know God has great things in store for him. We LOVE you!!!!!
In other big news Sweet Pea crawled for the first time yesterday. Our ds said it was his best Birthday present ever. Isn't he just the sweetest? God is so good \o/!!!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Where else can you find.........
weapons.... After a comment left here I feel compelled to note that these are TOY (Notice the orange tips which denote TOY) Revolutionary Guns. I took down this posting earlier, but after my hubby called me a chicken (Lovingly, of course) I put it back up. We understand that some people may not agree with toy guns and children, and that is fine. I do not wish this Blog to be a debate Blog, so we can just agree to disagree.
.........pigs for dissecting..
I talked dh out of one of those..PHEW!~~
And BOOKS :o)....... all in one place???
We LOVE good books!
We found THESE book,and dh blessed us with more additions to our Lamplighter Collection.
What a blessed day. We serve a great God, and we have an awesome hubby/Daddy.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what to do with little ones while homeschooling. I have found the BEST way is to give them their own "School." All of our younger children look forward to "School Time." I try and incorporate a short Bible Lesson, story time, Letters, Numbers, Songs, etc. Their favorite part though are hands on activities. Here are some we have been working on..
Learning Centers for Preschool Time:
Monday, July 09, 2007
The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
During my time in Ethiopia, I found myself at each orphanage spending time with the boys in the 5-8 year old age range. There were so many boys this age, and each one was just precious.
This past April God made it clear it was once again time to start the adoption process. After praying together and separately we knew we were being led to adopt 2 children between the ages of 5 and 8.
We applied to AAI, and the Ethiopia program. As they were processing our paperwork they informed my dh that their were troubles brewing for large families adopting from Ethiopia. Merrily Ripley (The Director of AAI) was out of the country, but we were told she would call us and speak with us about the Ethiopian situation. She called my dh , and gave us the very hard news that we were not going to be able to adopt from Ethiopia. She told my dh she had just come home the day before from Ghana. AAI was opening up a brand new program, and we were they kind of family they were looking for. We had adopted before, and we had adopted through them. They wanted experienced adoptive parents for this pioneer journey.
Dh shared our hearts with her, and she told us they had just taken in 2 boys who sounded like the perfect fit for our family. These boys were E and J. Of course, dh told her he would speak with me, and that we would pray about this.
I was so incredibly disappointed not to be adopting from Ethiopia again. I love Ethiopia so much, and it was just heartbreaking thinking of the great need there.
Dh wisely told me that God was showing us a need, and we prayed. After a LOONG talk with Anita (The Program Director), and more talks w/ Merrily, another long conversation with my wonderful friend Beckie (the pro of older children adoptions), and many, many prayers, we knew that this was God's plan for us and for E and J.
When you look up "Pioneer" in the dictionary you will not see a picture of Jim or myself. We are PLANNERS. We are careful. We like to know what is lying up ahead. God calls us to look beyond ourselves though, and He likes to keep us on our toes and on our knees.
So, we are returning to West Africa as God once again graciously expands our family. I say returning as we began our adoption journey in West Africa. We had three failed adoptions due to gross corruption. It was a painful 2 1/2 year process, but the Lord carried us through. How good He is to bring us healing and completion through our newest adoptions.
So, many people have asked what next? Or if we have a timeline... No, we don't. I guess the thing about being a pioneer is that it's all brand new. We have completed our Dossier, and are working on our welcome bags. As far as what comes next or how?? We don't know, but we are resting in Jesus who knows all.
In between He'll be growing me in patience and trust. I'll try not to nag him or Anita..at least not too much.