Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm having one of those days when I hate the adoption process. It's one of those days when I wish I was waking up in my imaginary world, but instead am faced with NEED. How do you handle it?
How do you handle seeing a need so great that it is hard to even look at it? Even worse, how do you handle it when you finally do look and realize that you meeting that need is contrary to God's will? Need vs. God's will...it is hard to deal with...but even harder when it deals with human life.
I am struggling...struggling with the knowledge that God is probably telling me to step away from faces filled with some of the deepest need I have seen because it is not His will for us. I am struggling not to feel like I am abandoning these faces. I'm trying so hard to remind myself that I am leaving them in Palm of His hand. But it doesn't help...because I am struggling with the pain of their NEED and the knowledge that I could meet it if I chose. But how do you choose to meet a need contrary to God's will? And are you really meeting that need if you do?
There are days when I hate the whole adoption process...I'm having one of those days.
Friday, November 14, 2008
(once it opens up the page for you, click on the link to watch the whole episode)
Carolyn Twietmeyer called her husband at work one day and said she found the children they were supposed to adopt, and one of them is HIV positive. Kiel Twietmeyer didn’t really know how to respond. After about two weeks of contemplation the couple decided they had to go to Ethiopia to adopt the three siblings orphaned by AIDS. Before leaving to come home to the U.S., Carolyn took her son to visit his friends at the orphanage. It was during this visit that she met Selah, also orphaned by AIDS and living with stage four AIDS. Today, as the newest Twietmeyer child, Selah’s health has significantly improved with the help of antiretroviral drugs, a dose of hope, and lots of love from a blended family.
The idea of adopting a child with HIV isn’t rare. Margaret Fleming, founder of Adoption Link and Chances By Choice, an adoption agency for HIV/AIDS orphans, says there are many parents desiring to adopt a child with HIV. Today with the advancement of antiretroviral medications the lifespan of a child living with HIV has greatly increased. Mary Austin, an RN and adoption advocate with the agency says the virus is often times more manageable than diabetes. Margaret has adopted three children with HIV and Mary has adopted one child with HIV.
The United Nations reports there are 14 million AIDS orphans worldwide. 22 million people have died from AIDS with 74% of that population living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I was finally able to finish all the paperwork for our international homestudy and mail it into the agency. Now we wait for them to contact us later this week and set up a time to meet with our social worker to finalize the homestudy. We're both excited about this and nervous as well.
I think the money has begun to feel more daunting to us lately. It has kept me up the last several nights. I lay awake trying to brainstorm ways to supplement our income without leaving Boo or over-extending our family life. (which is arguably already over-extended) I felt myself getting more and more despondent over the situation. In fact, I started to question if we were even supposed to do this. Was I pushing something on our family that God didn't want?
The Major has been my rock through this whole time. He has not wavered once in his desire to see this through nor has his faith wavered that God will provide for us to bring these new recruits home to our arms. I'm so thankful for this man of God I am following. He is so wise and teaches me everyday about trusting God to do what He said He would.
So, we've moved forward...after praying together over the paperwork, we sent it away with all the hope, fear, and excitement that encompasses each step of an international adoption. May the Lord show Himself faithful on behalf of orphans worldwide!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
One interesting note...our daughter hated opening presents. We thought that with all the ripping of paper and magazines that happens around our house these days, she would really be into it. We were very wrong! After trying several times to get her interested she started to cry. So, cousin Jameson came to the rescue and opened them all for her. His observation when he was done: "This is the happiest day of my life." Who knew opening gifts for someone else could bring such immense joy?!
Hope you enjoy the following pictures. Alot of these are for the many family members who were unable to be there with us. We love you and thought of you often!
Our Little Butterfly
Butterfly cupcakes again...a little different style this time
Devouring her cupcake...she knew what to do this time.
The end result...she was totally covered!
Because of scheduling conflicts, Boo got to have not just one, but two parties for her birthday. The first one was on her birthday and we had the added blessing of being able to celebrate it with her other mom: Miss D. We all had so much fun loving on our girl and being able to meet Miss D's dad and Boo's grandfather: Grandpa C. She wasn't sure about her birthday cupcake at first, but soon realized how delicious it really was. It didn't take long for her to devour it.
Here are a few pictures from our time that evening:
Miss D & Pvt Boo
Boo's butterfly cupcake tower
Happy Birthday Baby Girl!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
I don't know about you, but when I think of October and going to the pumpkin patch memories of a brisk day with cool air and the delicious smell of fall soil fill my mind. Hot apple cider and hay stuck in your shorts and hair from the hay ride and rolling down the hay slide. Yeah...not one of those things happened.
The day was extremely HOT! No crisp fall air here. We did get a hay ride...without hay. (?) So, I guess technically it was just a ride. Oh and did I mention it was HOT and dusty?! We saw a few farm animals. Boo was too hot to be remotely interested in them...although Mr. J thought the baby chicks looked yummy enough to eat. When we finally got to the section where we could pick our pumkins both kids and the adults were so hot and thirsty that we quickly chose our souveniers, took a few pictures, and unanimously decided to head back home to air conditioning and iced tea. We enjoyed the rest of the day hanging out and watching the kids play together. They both were extremely happy to be out of the heat...and so were we!
Maybe someday I introduce Boo to a real pumpkin patch experience complete with hot apple cider and real hay! Here are some of the pictures we got that day:
Mr. J was totally ready to eat the baby chick! Yum!
They are so cute...but so hot. Poor dears!
Boo is clapping (are we done yet) while Mr J tries to see if her pumpkins is better than his.
Kisses for Momma!
This photo cracks me up! Between the look on Boo's face and Mr. J eating the sign, it totally depicts the day and our experience.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This month she started getting more and more independent. She plays on her own happily for long periods of time. I love to watch her interact with her toys and babble at them. I only wish I knew what she was telling them. She is also pulling herself up on everything! I have a feeling she'll be walking by the end of the year. She is such a happy and joyful child. Her smile just melts our hearts and constantly reminds us of the joy God must feel towards us...His children.
We are in the midst of planning her first birthday party with her Mom and extended family. It will be the first time that Boo will get to meet her biological cousins and aunts and uncles. Part of me is extremely nervous, the other part is thankful and excited. I want Boo to always know how deeply she is loved, not only by us, but also by her other family. Love placed her in our arms and Love is what continues to hold her and support her. Please pray for our time with her extended family, that God would give us grace and wisdom as we learn how to walk in an open adoption.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of Pvt Boo from last month. Enjoy!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It takes us about 30 minutes to get to church each Sunday, but it is worth every minute of the drive. NCC is a brand new church in downtown LA and their focus is to bring together people of every walk, culture, and ethnicity. It looks a lot like I envision heaven...just on a smaller scale. As soon as you walk in the door, you are covered in love from those around you. There is a vulnerability amongst the members that encourages honesty and realness.
NCC is a hospital. They are welcoming in sinners of every walk and lovingly tending their wounds. They don't compromise on truth though. Their love of all people doesn't equal acceptance of sin. They don't ignore the disease that is killing each person walking into their midst, but make sure that they are aware of what is truly making them sick and then seek to bring them to the healing table of the Great Physician.
Sitting in the NCC is uncomfortable sometimes for those who are used to normal evangelical churches...but we like that we're being stretched. It is good for a weekly reminder of why Jesus came to this earth in the first place. I don't think He or the disciples were comfortable with all the sick and maimed people that came around Him either. But He welcomed them, loved them, fed them, and ultimately for many, healed them. What better example to follow than this?!
If you're ever in the LA area on a Sunday...we'd love to have you join us! You will be loved and challenged...and more importantly meet Jesus amongst "the least of these."
You can check out more about the church here:
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Well, our home was recently hit with unknown sickness. Poor Boo got hit the hardest with an extremely high fever and small tummy upset. She was so pitiful. This was her first time being sick and she really was an easy patient. She drank her activated charcoal which quickly took care of the tummy problem. The fever has been a whole different story. It just keeps hanging on. Boo is a trooper though and dutifully takes her meds while watching copious amounts of Sesame Street. Since there are only a few songs that she likes and that we approve of...the Major and I have caught ourselves singing them throughout the day. Suffice it to say, we can now count to four while singing about chickens, penguins, and monsters.
Here are some pictures of our sweet sick girl:
Such a sweet face!
Resting on Daddy's chest...her favorite place
Watching Sesame Street on Mommy & Daddy's bed
One other random thing that I am totally stoked about...my sewing table! I was perusing Craigslist last week as I normally do and came across a beautiful desk that would fit perfectly in our room and work as my sewing table. We got it for steal and now my sewing machine has it's own little corner and I can actually use it to my heart's delight! I can't wait to get started since I have several projects waiting for me.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We've been in touch with Boo's mom and are starting to plan her first birthday party. After alot of prayer, I decided to allow her mom to do most of the planning. In our discussions it has become really obvious that this is extremely important to her. I want this to be not only a good memory for her, but also for Boo to look back on. We won't always be in proximity to her mom and I want them to build as many moments together as possible. It will also provide a great introduction to the extended family. I am nervous about meeting them all, but I'm trusting the Lord to go ahead of us and use this time to give us more insight into Boo's history and another set of family members to love. Keep praying for this...Open Adoptions are so unique and each one is its own set of unchartered waters. I am learning as I go and praying like crazy that our decisions not only honor God, but are healthy for all parties involved.
Here are some updated pictures of Pvt Boo for those who are far away:
Monday, September 1, 2008
Speaking of the Major...I am watching him through the window trying to study Greek and Hebrew while keeping an eye on Pvt Boo playing in her baby pool. Not sure if he's having success or not. She seems to be splashing him too much and keeping his attention. He's such an awesome Daddy!
OK...back to topic. Paper chasing. It's quite an exercise in patience and planning. It is also loads of fun for those of us who love to check off lists. I get excited when I'm able to add one more piece of paper to the pile and check it off the cover page. Once you have the whole pile assembled, there is a huge sense of accomplishment and joy as you realize what a major step you've just made towards your children.
We actually have 2 different stacks of papers that I have to assemble. One is for our new homestudy and the other is our dossier for Uganda. The homestudy paperwork isn't new to us and is actually moving along fairly quickly. There isn't nearly as much needed this time around as we did for Pvt Boo. The dossier, however, is a totally different story. Goodness! we have quite a ways to go on that one, but thankfully some of the stuff overlaps and it too shouldn't take too awefully long to complete.
Timing is everything for us right now. Our goal is to have our paperwork finished and sent to Uganda by the first part of April 2009. This would have us traveling sometime in May or June to bring our kids home.
For those of you who have asked about the process, it goes something like this:
- Complete Homestudy (the end of December)
- Submit I-600A to Homeland Security to get permission to bring the kids home. We should receive an answer from them in 60-90 days.
- Submit dossier to Uganda government and NGO. (Beginning of April)
- Once our dossier is approved, we will receive a referral (picture, names, and description of the children we're adopting) This usually only takes 1-2wks.
- Upon acceptance of the referral from us, they will submit the paperwork and should have a court date for us in less than 1 month.
- We scurry to buy tickets and head to Uganda to get our kids. The Major will have to be with me for at least the first week. I will then stay another 2-3weeks more finishing paperwork with both the Ugandan government and also the American embassy.
- Bring our children home for good and officially adopt them here in the States. (we are only given legal guardianship of this children while in Uganda. The adoption does not take place until we return to the States.)
So, that's a quick update/overview of where we are in the overall process. Keep in mind this is Africa and anything can happen. It will be an adventure and we are truly looking forward to it! Thanks for all the encouraging words and support.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
So, I thought I'd do a little mommy bragging this post. I have a few more meaningful posts waiting in the wings, but this one's just pure bragging.
Pvt Boo's hair has really thinned from losing alot of her baby hair, but it is starting to grow out again. I was really struggling with what to do on the back of her head because although it was thin...parts of it were really long. So I decided to try my hand at beading. My first try looked ok and Boo actually did really well with sitting mostly still for me.
Now, that I had figured out how easy it really was to do, I thought I'd try again and focus a bit more on what I was doing. After several rounds of Sesame Street, we ended up with an awesome set. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this one came out. She looked so cheerful and I got alot of comments from people when we'd go out in public. Here it is:
I also found a wrap for her hair at night. I wasn't sure how she would do with it, but she kept it on really well and it has made a huge difference in the softness of her hair. It has also done a great job of keeping the styling from coming out. My African Queen:
I just redid her braids and beads in Camo colors for the Major's big opening weekend at the University ROTC program. I'll post those pics later. Suffice it to say, she is the star of the show in her camo braids and ACU jumper.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Major and I have begun the process to adopt a sibling group of 3 children under the age of 7yrs from Uganda, Africa. I know, I know...you probably think we're crazy. That's the usual response we get from people. Or we hear "Are you sure you can handle that?" To be honest, no, I don't know if I can handle it and we probably are crazy, but Love makes you act that way sometimes.
Even while we were courting, the Major and I discussed our desire for a big family and how adoption would be a part of that equation. When God closed my womb we realized that we had been given an incredible opportunity to impact children's lives from around the world who may never know what the word "family" means. As the time approached to finalized Shiloh's adoption we began to discuss our next addition to the family. We both wanted to go international this time. The Major wanted to focus on war orphans and I wanted to bring home a sibling group since they usually had a harder time being adopted. As we began to pray for God to guide us to where...Rwanda was placed on hearts. After doing a ton of research and making connections, the door to Rwanda shut. We were confused and not sure where to go from there. We had felt pretty sure that we were supposed to focus on that area of the world. We went back to God and asked again.
Within a few weeks, we had 3 totally different people mention Uganda to us. I did some research and was horrified at the situation going on in that country. I found myself angry that our media was so blatantly ignoring this country and grieved at the suffering of my brothers and sisters there. If you want more information check out: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/ & http://www.wardancethemovie.com/ And you can read the book: Girl Soldier by McDonnell & Akallo
The Major and I became really excited about this possibility, but were once again confused and frustrated when we found out that the government requires you to live in Uganda for 3 years before you can adopt. Then God stepped in and put us in touch with an organization here in our area that is working with an NGO group in Uganda to facilitate adoptions. As we emailed back and forth, we began to realize that God was throwing open this door and it was an amazing opportunity to adopt from a country with real needs where very few people were willing to go.
Yesterday, we met face to face with the head of the agency we are working with and handed in our first round of paperwork officially starting the process. It will take some time, but we are excited and trust that God will provide everything we need emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially for this adventure.
I will keep you all posted on each step of the journey. Hopefully, I'll get some time in a later post to explain exactly how the process will go, so you can be praying with us through each step. Thank you all again for your love and support of us through this. We look forward to meeting the African children God has chosen for our family!
Live Brave & Love Crazy!! =)