Monday, January 30, 2012

Adoption/Family Updates!

Thank you to all of you who continue to visit our blog even though we have been slooooooooow to post any updates lately.   So, thought I would write a quick blog on what's going on with the adoption and with our family...hopefully, if all goes well, there will be bigger news coming soon!

Today, Alyssa and I visited the notary to get some final papers notarized for our new region.  Following the advice of our agency, we have decided to change regions for our adoption.  After we lost Kaylee, we didn't have a strong reason to stay in the region we were in.  Global recommended a change of regions as this area is supposedly known for much smoother adoptions.  We have an online friend who adopted from this region and had nothing but glowing things to say about her experience, we are trusting God that this is a good decision and that He will bring us the child that is meant for our family.  We will send the papers to the secretary of state tomorrow for apostilling, and then they will be on to Maryland.  From that point, they will be sent out of the country.  We won't put a timetable on things from that point, but we are hopeful that things will move efficiently.

Alyssa is busy with work (as usual!) and continues to be blessed by working full time with people with special needs.  (She works to get funding, housing and services for people with disabilities.)  I was able to meet a couple of her clients on Sunday at church....what a blessing!  These two women had such a sweet innocence and undeniable love for Alyssa.  That was very cool for me to see.  Alyssa has also had the privilege of organizing and being a part of a local adoptive mom's group that meets a couple of times a month or so...the group continues to grow every time they meet and she is finally not the only mom there who hasn't adopted yet!  This has been a great resource for her and our family as she gets to learn so much from a lot of sweet families who have gone through this process before us.

(A beautiful painting Alyssa did for a friend!)

Sam was voted homecoming queen at VCA this past week!  Victory does things a little differently...the teachers nominate the court based on Christian character, school and community involvement and academics.  So, it was definitely a privilege and honor for Sam to be thought of so highly by her teachers.  The students then vote from the nominees and Sam won!  I would say I am surprised, but frankly I am not...she is a wonderful young lady who has the respect of adults and is loved by her peers. She is in the middle of thinking through her options for college (she is a junior now) and is strongly considering Indiana Wesleyan, Grace and Huntington.  We are planning to take her on a few visits next month, so hopefully God will give her some clear direction through that trip.

(Queen Sam!)

Cade went to his first dance this Saturday (VCA's homecoming) and had a great time!  He is also starting to get involved in the youth group at Liberty and will be going on their winter retreat in February.  He also starts high school baseball practice in February.  I'm excited to see him getting to do so many social things and I think this is going to be a great spring for him.

(Cade ready for the dance!)

Logan just got his second grading period report card and once again got straight A's!  We are so proud of him!  He is really growing up and we are seeing him mature all the time.  He has a good group of buddies this year and is really enjoying his fifth grade class.  Hopefully, he will be able to play spring soccer this year.  He is also getting involved with Liberty's 5th/6th grade ministry and that has been great...he has close VCA friends in the group and that has really helped him engage with church.

(Logan's "crazy" picture)

I hope everyone doesn't mind me bragging on my family....they are all great and special in their own unique ways.  I am still getting to know them every day, and I am more and more proud of them all the time!

In terms of me, it has been a great month.  The basketball team hit a rough patch for a while with players out of the lineup for various reasons, but we have won our last four games and are really growing as a team.  The conference tournament and state tournament are this month and we think we have a good shot in both tourneys.  It's been a fun season.  Last week, I had the great privilege to speak alongside Rick Jones at VCA's spiritual emphasis week.  After prayer and consideration, we chose to specifically address the boys of Victory.  We have a strong conviction that if God wins the hearts of young men, he can do amazing things in our school.  We worked together on a sermon series entitled "Modern Warfare" that elaborated on the spiritual battle that young men must fight.  At the end of the week, we offered an opportunity for commissioning as a warrior for God...a true man of God.  Over 50 boys between 4th-12th grades responded to the challenge!  What a blessing that was only a result of the outpouring of God's spirit on our school.  I hope to post video of these sermons on my blog ( sometime in the coming weeks.  Great week at a great school!

(A shot from our big win @ Portage Christian, our rivals!)

We have plans in the works for more fundraising and we hope to post more on this soon.  May the Lord bless and keep you all and make His face shine upon you!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

not easy.

This walk with the Lord is anything but, easy. It is fruitful, it is a journey, it is encouraging, it is joyful...but not easy. At times it may seem so, but then we need to ask...does that mean I am growing?  Or am i just going through routine? business as usual, so to speak.  However,  a twist on this thought is that when we are relying on ourselves to accomplish anything it may not be easy...relying on the Holy Spirit is easy.  Doesn't He say- My yoke is easy, my burden is light?  Well yes, it is, when we are surrendering to ourselves. Surrendering to our own dreams, our own goals, our own wants.  Now the surrendering --that's not the easy part.  Is death easy? Is dying painless?  Dying to our own desires, our own will, our own dreams.

We need to be careful what we attach to.  "Detachment is the great secret of interior peace.  Along the way, in the journey with Christ, we get attached to (literally 'nailed to') behaviors, habits, things and people in an unhealthy way", as stated in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero.  He goes on to say that we rarely know how attached we are to something until it is removed.  Then the power struggle begins.

Szazzero goes on to say, 'we are to appreciate nature, people and all God's gifts, along with His presence  in Creation-----without being ensnared by them. It has rightly been said that those who are the most detached on the journey are best able to taste the purest joy in the beauty of created things.  The critical issue on this journey with God is not "Am I happy?", but "Am I free?"  We are to live our lives as the rest of the world--marrying, experiencing sorrow and joy, buying things and using them--but always with awareness that these things in themselves are not our lives.   We are marked for eternity, free from the dominating power of things.   Among our losses, God answers-- No, you don't need that. You need me!'

'The journey with Jesus calls us to a life of undivided devotion to Him.  This requires that we simplify our lives, removing distractions.  Part of that will mean grieving our losses and embracing the gift of our limits.'

While reading this book over Christmas break and intentionally journaling, seeking God for a personal revival, more depth in Him and a greater capacity to love Him and others, we have heard the news that our little Kaylee has been adopted by a Russian family.   All along, I have known that circumstances could change at anytime and 'not to get too attached until its final', however I still have had a level of attachment to Kaylee.  This is normal and completely healthy as we had a picture and information about her!  So this is grieved by Derek and I, our children, our families and by you all that have supported us along this journey.  We have no control over this happening.   The joy in this is that she has a home!  She has a home and we are thankful that it could be a Christian home. Praise God and we pray for this!

We do not ask for pity or anyone to feel sorry for us, we ask for you to REJOICE with us! We ask that you rejoice with us that she has a home! :)   Yet we will Praise God!  Rejoice in our trials (James 1) He says, so that is what we will and MUST do!  He commands us to do this, so please do this with us! We have to remember God is much bigger than us!  

Please don't think we are not grieving. We have grieved over the past several weeks of knowing this possibility. There have been times of anger and frustration over the system, having her picture and profile, etc....but we now rejoice. We rejoice she has a home, we rejoice in our trial, we rejoice in our faith being tested, we rejoice in our friends and family supporting us and being on this journey with us.  We now trust the Lord once again for His great provision for this little girl and for the next one!  We are so grateful that there is another one that can have a family.  Come on church---rise up and BE.  Be what God had commanded us to be. As my husband said earlier just today, as we were leaving church and I said once again, it is sad....he said, 'yes, but it is about an orphan having a home, not about our feelings'.

We look forward to this next step in our lives and in the lives of all the orphans in need.  We continue to be reminded that God has called us to be a voice for the voiceless and this is not just about one little girl. We continue to ask the Lord for ways to be their voice.

We desire to grow our family and have more children as well, don't get us wrong, He has definitely given us that desire! However, we will wait on the Lord knowing that He has a perfect timing and a perfect will.  We will continue to seek to offer our lives to Him in obedience asking Him to grow us and change us in Him.  Come Lord Jesus! :)