Monday, February 27, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

God's reminders

Joel works in a big company. I would dare say that 75% of the people he works with do not understand why we are adopting again. Some think it is for the money. (Huh? I really do not get that one..something about a tax break). Some think that our family deserves more, like a bigger house, a new van, more vacations. I could go on and on...They truly do not understand why we choose to do this.

Matthew 6: 19-22, 24
19“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 19Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
24“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money

Joel's explanations of why seem to fall on their deaf ears. He is constantly trying to explain himself and our family. The other day he came home feeling very defeated. I know we understand why we chose to adopt and their opinions really do not matter, but this whole adoption process is really hard even on the best of days. And then when you hear the negativity it makes it really, really tough sometimes.

Yesterday, after a bad day, Joel got in a work vehicle with a co-worker and they got to talking. His co-worker began to remind him that the negativity is just "noise". He reminded Joel of Peter and his faith to walk on water, but when Peter saw the wind he became afraid and began to sink.

 Matthew 14:25-31
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  

I do not know about you, but I certainly have never walked on water. Jesus told Peter to "come" and Peter did the impossible - he walked on water. But, when Peter saw the wind he began to doubt and then began to sink. The wind was Peter's "noise". It caused him to take his focus off of Jesus and what he was told to do.

 Joel's co-worker reminded him, we are like Peter. God has asked us to journey to China. God is doing the impossible, especially financially (more on that later). We cannot allow the "noise" to cause us to lose our focus otherwise we will sink. Satan wants nothing more than for us to hear "noise". He wants us distracted. He wants our eyes off of God.

I am so thankful that even on our bad days, when all we hear is "noise", God reaches out His hand to pull us up, He saves us. I am so thankful that God knows when we need encouragement. He is so very faithful to us. I am so thankful that he used Joel's co-worker to bless us. On that day God reached out His hand to Joel and pulled him up. He reminded him that we are not alone, we are safe in with Him.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Hats of Love~made by Alaina

Alaina has been busy making hats to raise money for our adoption. Oh, how I love this girl and her heart! She has made about 100 hats and has sold close to 60. She is selling them for $5 each or for every $5 donated she will donate one hat to Aliyah's orphanage. She wants her sister home more than anything!

She comes home everyday and in stead of playing she gets going on making more hats. God has blessed me with the most amazing children! Keep up the good work Alaina - we are so proud of you and your desire to make a difference!

SoNal- Korean Lunar New Year

I know I am a bit late with this. But better late than never. We had a great time celebrating with several families. We had lots of fun and lots of yummy Korean food! Our event even made the local news paper...
Korea uses a different calendar than the U.S.A. That’s why their New year is called the Lunar New Year, they have 2 New Years

Korean Lunar New Year
The Korean Lunar New Year is celebrated not just for starting a new year, but also for happiness and luck to be in ones life. This holiday is called Sonal in Korean and pronounced Soul– nol. You don’t only celebrate this holiday for luck and happiness it’s also celebrated to teach children to respect elders. To do this parents make their children bow to elders.

2012 Year of the Dragon
(made by my talented friend)

Korean Lunar New Year: Events
· This day is celebrated on the first day of the Lunar calendar, which changes each year.
· Eldest members of a family perform Charye a memorial ceremony.
· A hanbok is a traditional outfit worn by everyone.
· After eating rice cakes it’s considered truly the New Year.
· You can visit fortune tellers, museums, old villages, and old palaces on this special event.
· Children play games like Yutnori a board game played with sticks, Neolttwigi a Korean seesaw, and much more with their cousins.

Alaina and Dane
David not wanting his pic taken
Alivia in her Hanbok

Dane trying to sneak cookies

The Star Fish Story

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Outdated is still a blessing

When Joel and I bought our house 10 years ago, we had big plans for it. Yes, it was (still kind of is) a fixer upper. Our plans were big and we had lots we wanted to do. Well, a little over a year after we moved in life took some very unexpected turns and getting things "fixed up" came to a screeching halt.

I found myself complaining to Joel about our house the other day. Yes, it is true the kitchen is very dated and poorly designed. I have no cupboard or counter top space and with a large-ish family that can be tricky. And yes, we are busting at the seams.  And yes, the closets and bedrooms are very small. Really, I could go on and on. We have wanted to move for many years. We actually had our house sold, packed up and unpacked 2 times this past summer (really 2 times) and both deals fell through.  I continued to complain about our house and all the sudden felt like God was trying to get me to be quiet. I felt this guilt start to come over me. I began to really start thinking about some things.

This house, our home, has weathered so much. We have had some really rough times here. Joel lost his job, we had a hard and scary 3rd pregnancy, there was a time that I thought Joel and I would not be Joel and I -we honestly did not think we would be together. We experienced a lot of loss in this house too. This house has been a safe haven where Joel and I have been able to talk and heal, we have grown and overcome so much. There has been lots of good times too. Joel was able to find another job, a great job at that. We have been able to welcome home 4 beautiful children here and soon to be 5. We have learned so much about God and his faithfulness and love for us. We have learned all about adoption and how beautifully tough it is and what it really means for our family. This is the place where our children laugh and grow, and yes, sometimes cry. This is the place where  it is okay to be us and it is okay to struggle through some of life's tough stuff. This is our home- we love each other here. This is the place where God wants us to be, outdated kitchen and all.

There did come a time when we could have updated our kitchen or done something else around the house, but felt like adopting was a better choice. Keeping us here in this house has taught us that earthly possessions are not what they seem. God has asked us to make decisions that have been "selfishly hard", but in the end blessed us immensely. He wanted us to learn a bit more about being content. Contentment, boy, that is tough- I still struggle with it sometimes.

We are very fortunate to have our warm house with running water and comfy beds. But more than that, it is a true blessing from God.  Honestly, thinking about it now, I feel so awful for complaining. We are so blessed - I have everything I need and more. Shame, shame, shame on me for complaining.

And to think, if God would have not closed the door  twice on the sale of our home; if we would have kept pushing to sell, we would of missed out on our beautiful Aliyah. God is so good (even when we do not deserve it).  He had bigger and better plans for us...bigger and better than any house!

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I am special

A beautiful poem that I found for our darling Aliyah. You indeed are special.

"I'm Special"
On my way from Heaven,
God delayed my trip that day.
He said that I was special,
and then sent me on my way.
But not before he kissed me,
Right upon my ear
He left his blessed mark
to carry with me here.
He whispered in my ear right then,
that He loved me without doubt,
and then He closed my ear up tight,
so the whisper won't get out.
He told me both my legs were strong
and would help me stand up tall.
He told me both my arms would work
to catch me if I fall.
My eyes would catch my memories
to store within the pages of my mind,
My heart would fill with all the things I would love,
so many things, I would find.
He told me I could fall asleep
to my Daddy's bedtime tales,
and listen while my Mother sings
of seas and boats with sails.
One ear, He told me, could hear the sounds
that little birdies make.
The other ear was His gift to me,
a blessing for my sake.
For when I'm feeling sad, He said,
my other ear would hear,
His whispered words of eternal love,
left waiting for me there.

(Author Unknown)

EP Prayers

For those of you that pray, I am asking for your prayers on behalf  of several of my friends.

We have several friends and know of many more families that are in the process of adopting children from Korea. With out going into all the details and all the red tape, I will try to make it simple.  The Korean Government has made some changes and is in the middle of making changes in their adoption process.
Right now, several families are at the tail end of their adoption, or so they thought. They are just waiting on the Korean Gvmt to issue their children exit permits, which is basically permission to leave Korea, also known as an EP. For some reason the Korean Gvmt has stopped issuing EP's until further notice, which is leaving several families in a horrible place. I cannot even imagine how they are feeling. Some have waited over a year to bring their babies home with no end in sight. The waiting is pure torture. Watching their children grow up in pictures is no fun at all. Waking up every day wondering if this will be the day is gut wrenching. Some are beginning to wonder if their children are even coming home at all. And that is the worst fear of all.

It also poses other problems: They are running out of Foster Families and the Reception Center (orphanage) is running out of room. With children being in care longer, they are running out of clothing and basic necessities for these sweet children. And they are now having to turn birth mothers away....oh how our God in heaven must weep. I have not checked in awhile but when we traveled for Dane almost a year and a half ago, the abortion rate was between 94-96 %. I wonder if it will climb even higher since the birth mothers have no where to go.

Please pray for my friends and the many other families caught up in this EP mess. Pray that they will feel overwhelming peace.  Pray that they will feel the comfort they need.  Pray that their minds will somehow be at ease.  Pray the sick feelings they feel will go away. Pray for the Korean Gvmt too. Pray they will make the best decisions possible keeping the children's best interest in mind. Pray that the children that are matched and have families will be issued an EP soon, very, very, soon. Pray for these sweet babies that  are a half a world away...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

China to ban names that signal ’orphan’ status

This is a very interesting read if you have a few minutes. I really hope and pray this is true.

China to ban names that signal ’orphan’ status

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Log in Date! Yes, we have it!!


As of February 6, 2012 our Dossier (all our paperwork) was logged in into the system in China. This is fantastic news for us! This is a big step. Thank you God!!
Now, we begin the wait for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China. The LOA basically is our official approval to adopt Aliyah and conformation that we want to adopt her. The wait time for this is very unpredictable, it can take anywhere from 2 months to 5 months. We are selfishly hoping and praying for a shorter wait.
If we do not have any major delays we should travel 2-3 months after we get our LOA.

Happy Birthday to you!

We celebrated my husbands birthday last week and we had a wonderful time! I am so thankful for my husband; he is a wonderful dad and husband! He works so hard to provide the best possible for our family. He has given up most of his extra earthly possessions so we could welcome more children into our family. I know that he would give it all up over and over again. And I know earthly possessions are just earthly possessions, but at the same time giving something up that you enjoy is hard, very hard.  I am so blessed to have a husband that is willing to do whatever it takes for our family. He will do whatever it takes to welcome another beautiful child into our family.
We did not do much for his birthday, we just stayed home in our jammies. I did make the meal of his choice and we did have cake and ice cream. The house was filled with lots and lots of laughter. We had a great night! The gifts Joel received are not something you could buy in any store; they are gifts from the hearts of our beautiful children. They are priceless gifts to him (and me too) and by far better than anything you could ever buy!!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Love, Alaina
Front of David'd card

The inside of David's card
  (Joel goes to Detroit for training for his job)

More artwork by David

And more artwork by David
Alivia's art

Dane's art

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A birthday wish come true!

I just had to share our beautiful birthday blessing and wish come true! Yesterday was Joel's birthday, and all he wanted was a picture of his daughter -it was his birthday wish. We pretty much knew that the chances of him/us getting a picture was slim to none, until I opened my email!

A friend of mine (we met on the orphanage Yahoo group) had sent me an email letting me know that she thinks she has 2 pictures of our daughter! Her son, who is in the same orphanage, just celebrated his birthday and she got pictures of his birthday celebration. And guess who is sitting right next to him - our little sweetie!! Granted her nose is runny and she looks like she has been crying, but we are so thankful to have gotten these pictures. And getting it on Joel's birthday makes it even more special! She looks so good, even with the runny nose.

God is so good!

I do plan on blogging some more about Joel's birthday when I have a bit more time...I just had to share our blessing now.
"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you... For I am the Lord your God..
~Isiah 43:1-3