"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John 13:35~

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

We have so much to Praise the Lord for!!!

Last Monday my Mama had to have an emergency heart cath and two stents put into her right coronary artery as it was 95% blocked. It was a scary time for us all. We are so thankful God was with her and her Dr.'s through it all. She is feeling much better now, and recovering well. Praise Jesus.

We were so amazingly blessed to spend 6 days with our wonderful cousins. Their faith and Christ like love never ceases to amaze us. They spoiled us, and lavished sweet love on all of our children. They are truly a gift from God and an embodiment of the above Scripture.

Two days ago Jim's sister gave birth to an incredibly handsome baby boy!!! We are so happy to be Auntie and Uncle and cousins once again. Kathy and Jay we think your babies are so exceptionally beautiful that you should have at least 10 more :o)

We are working on a plan for the boys to Immigrate from Ghana. It looks like Jim may be headed to Ghana in late December to file our I 600. He won't be able to bring the boys home, but he will be able to spend time with them. They will hopefully come home shortly afterwards once the I 600 is approved and their visas are granted.

Here are some pictures of our trip. We had such a wonderful time!

Our early a.m. departure...
Our little travelers were so excited to reach their destination that they didn't want to stop on the 8 hour journey. Thankfully, Clifford the Big Red Van needed gasoline!
Isn't it beautiful???

My cousin Jenny hosted the most elegant and delicious Thanksgiving Dinner ever served!

My cousin Debbie hosted our family of 11 along which along with her family of 9 made for quite a houseful.. She also had over all of her in-laws for Thanksgiving Dinner one evening, and hosted a Bible Study with her Church's Youth Group. She has the most gracious gift of hospitality!

A Hay Ride!

Sometimes people got sleepy...I'm not sure of it was a food coma or too much fun..

Some people even received a manicure while they slept..

Fun with the animals..

There was always a game being played..Indoors or Outdoors..

A most competitive game of hide and seek..

Saying good-bye is so hard..

Thank you Jesus for always being with us, and for blessing us so much!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Matthew 11:30~

I'm trying to fix dinner...

The phone keeps ringing..
A child threw pine needles at a sibling..
Math papers need to be graded..
A laundry basket with clothes needs to be put away..it sits on the table..mocking me every time I pass by..
A ball is stuck on the roof..
I really shouldn't have eaten that piece of pumpkin bread...
Oh no, is the baby chewing on something??

My mind is a swirl of details...It feels HEAVY..

I go to the glass doors to check on the children outside..and I notice the doors.......... which were cleaned earlier..... now have dozens of fingerprints upon them..

I sigh..and then the Lord gently rebukes me and reminds me what is really important...

When our first child was about 12 months old we went to visit my Grandma.. My Mommom.

We enjoyed our day at my Mommom's apartment. She fed us Lorna Doones, and cuddled her great grand baby. Our son had a fine time looking at himself in the full length mirror on the back of her door. Oh, how he loved to see himself, and his little hands left their mark all over the bottom of the mirror.

I spoke with my Mommom ,by phone, not long after that, and she told me how every day she would love to sit and look at the little hand prints he had made. She told me how her friends kept telling her she needed to clean the mirror, but she refused because when she looked at them it made her happy.

Six months later when we went to her apartment.... after her funeral...there on the mirror.. were my little boy's hand prints.

Jesus spoke to my heart and reminded me that I need to focus on the blessing of the hand prints.

In Matthew 11:30 Jesus tells us,
"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have found when my burden feels heavy it is because I am trying to carry a load that is not from Jesus.

Having a perfect house, being the perfect home school Mom, the perfect number on the scale..are not burdens from Jesus...those are from the world. Those are not eternal investments..

My children, on the other hand, are eternal investments.

I am so thankful that Jesus is so patient with me, and that He reminds me daily..sometimes moment by moment..the incredible blessing of shepherding these little ones in His name. I am so thankful that He walks this journey with me, and supplies me with everything I need.

There is joy, and beauty, and an abundance of blessing in every day.. May the Lord give me the eyes to really see each moment as He does.

Here are just a few of the blessings of the past week..

Brother and Sister making pumpkin bread..

Joyfully cleaning together..
Sisterly love..
Friday Night; Pizza Night..Cooking with my kiddies
The joy of a full table...
A snuggly 5 yo in our bed..
A card game with my Blink partner..
Waking up at 1:00 a.m. to watch the Leonid Meteor Shower, and marveling at how AWESOME our creator is.

Friday, November 16, 2007

HERE is a beautiful song "Father to the Fatherless" by Jason Upton. His interview afterwards is very touching too. Click "Player Only" to view.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Matthew 10:42~

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

This picture shows little Somed labouring at a butchers washing base where butchers wash animal intestines and other meat.
Despite his size, he is almost six years old. His father sent him to work - to help supplement his income as a loading boy or “Kayakaya”. His mother is unemployed.
Little Somed is paid the equivalent of about twenty five cents Canadian per day. He uses this money to take care of his family. He is a school drop out because his parents are dealing with poverty.

Fayima is eight years old and sells water everyday after school. Both her parents are unemployed. Fayima needs to work so that her family can get a daily meal.

Adams Abdul Sammed 's
Photo Essay called "Child Play" which depicts the lives of children in Ghana in one neighborhood in Ghana.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Psalm 133:1~

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

Monday, November 12, 2007

Beginning an International Adoption...

Where to start? Where to begin?

If God is calling you to adopt internationally it may be difficult to know how to begin.

I am in no way an expert, but here is how we have proceeded now through 4 International Adoptions..

1. The Country~ It is good to research different countries and their rules and regulations. The rules vary from each country. Rules can vary from age of parents, to length of marriage, income, family size, spacing of children already in the home, and sometimes there are even weight limits. Each country has their own standards.

Also, the process in each country is different. Some countries you will need to travel to appear in court. Others you will have agency representatives appear for you. Some countries require multiple trips, and several weeks in country... while others don't require you to travel at all.

You can find out most of this info by Googling, however, not all this information is current. You will want to confirm with the agency that you are interested in working with to make sure your family meets the country's requirements.

2. The Agency~ This is a BIGGIE. Research, research, research, and then research some more. You will be working closely and relying heavily on your agency. I would love to say that all agencies are wonderful, and have the best interests of children and prospective adoptive families at heart, but this simply is not so.

There are some wonderful agencies out there, and there are some who have done some heinous things. In the middle you will have some who are inefficient or poor communicators. You can not research your agency enough.

When we began our adoptions our source for info was very slim. Today, adoptive parents have set up incredible networks all over the internet where you can find out detailed info about adoption agencies.

A site I highly recommend is Adoption Agency Research
This group is set up so that no agency personnel are allowed to join. Adoptive parents and Prospective Adoptive Parents are able to exchange info freely without fear of threats of lawsuits or pulled referrals (Which in my opinion, no good agency would do, but sadly I have seen it happen).

Also, there are Yahoo groups for each specific country which allows adoption. You can learn quite a bit by reading and asking for info on specific agencies.

It is important to ask info from people in all steps of the process. Ask people in the beginning stages of the process, the middle, and those who have their children home. Make sure you speak with people who brought their children home years ago, and more recently to get a current view of how adoptions are going. Things change quickly. An agency who was performing stellar adoptions 3 years ago may be currently struggling.

There are no perfect agencies, and I do not expect perfection from ours. There are so many details in an adoption, and much of it can be out of the hands of agency personnel. What separates the good from the bad is how the agency handles the "bumps in the road" . Are they honest and forthright? Do they communicate openly? Do they place blame on others?

It is also good to know your communication style. If you are not comfortable with how quickly and thoroughly you are receiving info when you are first inquiring about an agency, imagine how hard it will be later in the process when you have a child you are waiting for.

Also, I just wanted to mention most people work with agencies who are out of state. People ask us about this frequently. It is very common.

3. The Homestudy~ Your Homestudy needs to be done by a licensed agency in your state. The homestudy will encompass background checks locally, through the FBI, the Child Services Dept. in your State, etc. You will need medicals, birth marriage certs, etc.

The homestudy also will include a series of interviews with your social worker. This can be very intimidating , but don't let it be. I was keenly disappointed after our 1st homestudy interview that our social worker did not check under our beds for cleanliness, as I had cleaned like a maniac.

4. Immigration~ You will need to file an I 600 A form with your local Department of Homeland Security Office along with your homestudy, birth certificates, marriage certificate, and fees for processing.

After they go over your application they will schedule you to be fingerprinted.

Yes, I know you have already been fingerprinted many times by this point, and try really hard not to focus on the fact that these fingerprints are going through the same FBI database as you just went to for your homestudy. Some things in the process just don't make sense.

Your agency will be walking you through gathering your dossier documents...

I hope this helps. I may have inadvertently left out some things. I am not an expert, and things change, but if you just do the next thing in the process, it is not all bad. It is more than worth it when your child is placed in your arms...and much like labor it all fades away until you find your self back in the throes of the paperwork process again ;o).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Proverbs 17:22(a)~

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: Proverbs 17:22 (a)

Our little guy with a merry heart is growing into a little man with a merry heart...

He makes me smile all the time..

We have conversations like this..

I'll say: "You are just so yummy I could eat you with a spoon.."

He'll giggle and say: "No, a fork."

I'll say: "O.k. , you are just so yummy I could eat you with a fork."

Giggling hardier he'll say: "No, a spoon."

We go on and on..until we are both giggling like crazy. He is so yummy I could eat him up no matter the utensil.

The other day we were headed outside to play. He asked me if he could go outside with his toes. Meaning ...=He wanted to go bare footed. I may be partial, but I think he's just adorable.

Lately, he has been coming into our bed around 5:30 a.m.

He comes onto my side and snuggles in.

I know the parenting experts would be horrified.

He is 3,I know they would say.. I should walk him back to his bed...

BUT they have never seen him in all of his sleepy cuteness as he comes next to my side of the bed, and says, "Mama, I'm here."

After he snuggles down he wraps his little arms around my neck, kisses me, and says "I love you Mama." and falls back asleep. Simply precious moments.

Having a teen down to tots has taught me to cherish moments like these...
time passes , and these little ones grow up so quickly.

Thank you Jesus for this precious little gift. Thank you for the joy he brings to our home and family each day.