Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slideshow I made(see below for important instructions)

Be sure to PAUSE the player on the bottom right hand and turn up your speakers to hear the music with the slideshow


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I never get over the surprises

God just blows my socks off!  So here is the low down on the money(not exact specifics, but an idea).  Mike, Carter, and I had thought Carter and I would be heading to Nicarauga in June.  We had a jar on the kitchen counter marked Mission Trip Savings.  We would put loose change, money we got back from something, Abby contributed half her allowance, Mike put a bit of his Christmas money--you get the picture, little bits here and there.  We'd started this 2months ago and as of yesterday had 220.00 in it.  This morning, I looked in my "secret stash" that I've always tried to keep for upcoming expenses that I knew would be really hard to pay for.  I was preparing for Hudson's finalization in court for his adoption in late March, early April(about 800.00).  In my stash was 225.00.  I had a bit extra in a special savings and got that out this morning.  To the exact amount, I deposited cash in our checking account this morning to cover the check I wrote yesterday for Haiti fees(lodging, food, insurance and such).  Seriously, you cant make this stuff up people!!!!!!!!!!!  I love it.  So, out of our family budget, this trip will only cost me the souvenirs I buy and a few airport meals.  NUTS!  Mike and I have been reading a biography on Hudson Taylor the great missionary to China.  He firmly believed that God would supply all his needs.  He never asked for money or went into debt.  It wasn't easy, he didn't live in luxury by any means, but he was always taken care of.  I hope to become like that.

Oh, if you'd like to see where I'll be, go to  http://www.gvcm.org/

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sometimes I'm just floored!




You guys will NOT believe this.  Literally, God dropped a 1/3 priced short term mission trip in my lap.  Basically, we've been praying and starting a little savings for a mission trip. We just figured I'd be going back to Nicarauga since I loved it there. But, some friends of ours lead teams to Haiti several times a year. This morning I found out that someone on their team backed out and I got a spot with a free flight!!!!!!! So, in about 3 hours, we made the decision to jump in. I fly out this Friday night.  CRAZY I know, but you all know I'm a bit wild anyway.


Get this, I'll be on a medical team that does burn clinics during the day, we are distributing 3000 Christmas shoeboxes AND we are staying in an orphanage and helping with the 100 children there and distributing bags of rice. The team leader told me that the village children who don't live in the orphanage try to get in there because it is the safe place where children actually eat.  Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and we will see everything from starving children, burn victims with no medical care to voodoo temples. Could this fit me any better??? I don't think so.

Mike and I ran up to Goodwill and I bought 4 long flowing skirts(a cultural thing there for women to wear skirts) and cheap cotton shirts.  I don't think I'll be taking many pics showing much of me in them ;)

So, Please please pray for Mike and the kids while I'm gone. My nerves are shot, but I'm super excited and so is MIke.
This has been quite a year.  The Lord has rocked our view of "normal" and shown us His mighty power!  We have learned that our timing is just that---ours.  He has a perfect timing that we just need to go with.  I'm humbled, in awe, and pumped up to see how the God of the universe is involved in all the details of our lives.  May I work hard, not complain, be flexible, love the people openly, and basically be Jesus with skin on.  I can always work more at my job and accumulate more money and stuff---but this, this trip is the chance of a lifetime and will most certainly affect the way I look at the world from here on out!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some battles you must win

Two year olds are something, aren't they?  Adorable, curious, sweet, kissable, funny, and STUBBORN!  Right before leaving Korea, Hudson's foster mother told us to be careful because Seong Cheol is curious and obstinate.  She was right on.  Tonight Hudson and I had an epic battle of wills.  I was taken back 13 years to when I read The Strong Willed Child by Dr. Dobson for Carter.  For the 896th time I told Hudson "We don't drive toy cars on table, cars go on the floor, say Yes Mam."  Now, I know there are some of you thinking I'm a super meanie for insisting on this cherub saying Yes Mam when he has only been here and hearing English for almost 4 months.  The thing is, he copies everything we say and I totally knew he understood.  He dug in.  You could see it in his eyes.  No way was he going to say yes mam.  So, being the peaceful and patient woman I am, I dug in too.  I placed his face to the wall about 2 feet from where I was standing and said "Say yes mam and you can come over here."  He shook his head and tears squirted out of his eyes.  This went on for about 10minutes.  Then, I went to get Dillon in the bath tub and left Hudson at the wall.  About every 3minutes or so, I'd come back and tell Hudson so say yes mam and he could leave the wall.  Wailing and gnashing of teeth!  Now I know how much Hudson loves bathtime so I enticed him by saying "Do you want to take a bath with Dillon?"  To which he piped up "Bath!"  I told him to say yes mam and he could take a bath--WAIL!  Again and again with Hudson saying "Bath!" but refusing to dare say yes mam.  Mike got out the video camera to record our war of wits.  Wouldn't you know it, as soon as he started recording, Hudson says "yeah, man".  There ya have it.  He said it!  So, I put  him in the bath and he was great the rest of the night.  In fact, it was a miracle.  He laid down, after bottle and snuggles, and went to sleep without the usual drama of flopping, snorting, getting up 5 times, kicking and such.  He peacefully went to sleep.  I'd like to think it was because of my supreme parenting, but more realistically, he was just worn out ;)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas!!!


I don't think I've ever been able to really say this--we had a White Christmas!!  I mean a blizzard came on Thursday complete with horrible ice.  Friday was beautiful, sunny and soft fluffy snow.  We had a snowball fight with the cousins, Aunt Shana and Uncle Craig.  Papa got in on the fun and here I am with a snowball inside my sweater that he threw at me!

Well, let me be the first to say "Hooray Christmas is over"!!  To be completely blunt, I'm not a huge Christmas afficionado.  Today, we clean out toys to make room for the new ones the kids got.   We clean and organize my torn up house and take a big load to Goodwill.  I love getting ready for the new year. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yes, he really is that CUTE!


So, here is Hudson, age 2 wearing mismatched PJ's and his sister's headband.  I'm sorry folks, you may think your little boy is cute, but this one takes the cake ;)  Hudson has been home 3.5months and is amazing us everyday.  He is happy, plays with little cars all day saying "Beep Beep", he is affectionate, smart, funny.  Mike and Hudson have a game where Mike makes a funny face and Hudson copies it.  Hudson is a little parrot and copies everything we say.  Today he had a big doctor appt for our post placement(complete with 3 vials of blood, a TB test and 3 shots).  In 3 months he has grown 3/4 inch and gained a pound.  We feel like we won the kid jackpot.  Frequently, we get the patronizing old saying "You guys are doing something so great for those kids."  HA!  Wrong--WE are the ones blessed.  Adopting children is not a hardship or call to suffer, it is an honor. 


Isaiah 1:17 (New International Version)
  learn to do right!
Seek justice,

encourage the oppressed.

Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Conspiracy Promo Video


You need to scroll down to my music player and pause the music to hear the video. This is what I'm saying people, this is why I don't like Christmas very much. 450 billion dollars spent on blow up santas riding Harleys as yard decorations and such while children are dying from diarrhea becauase their water is contaminated! What if we all spent less and gave to people that really need a sweet gift??? Let's try it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

If only frumpy were fashionable

...then I'd be one hot momma!  My fleece pjs that are hot pink with cupcakes all over them sure feel good EVERY day after 6ish!  And, speaking of style(or lack there of), does it bother anyone that there are many days when Hudson never gets changed from his pj's??

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Diaper Give-away Part 2

My mother helping set up the diaper table.


Katy, Melody and mom with Hudson and Sissy in the stroller


Today was a blast!!!!!!!  About 11 of us met at a WIC office in the mid-cities area, loaded down with about 3000 diapers, tons of packs of wipes(thank you Gateway Church for amazing generosity).  Each wipe pack had a cd of Robert Morris' testimony on it.  We set up a table that said Free Wipes and Diapers.  The traffic flow was pretty slow so several of us loaded up Hudson and Sissy(my neice) in the double stroller that God blessed my sister with yesterday for free, grabbed diapers and wipes and walked over to the low income apartment complex.  We began knocking on doors.  It was so fun and I totally cracked up at Katy(my youngest sister).  The first door she knocked on , a lady answered and Katy sweetly asked "Do any babies live here?"  HA!  The poor lady had a look on her face like, why do you want to know and why should I tell you!! :)


So, we started asking "Could you use some free diapers and wipes?"  That worked well.  People were pointing us to apartment doors of people they knew had babies.  After a while, we loaded all the supplies up and moved to a public health dept.  Mom and I took a bunch of diapers and wipes to the laundromat across the street.  Jack-pot.  People were so surprised and happy.  They all wanted to take some to a grandbaby, neice or nephew, or neighbor who had a baby.  We were glad to hand them out.
We had the best time and loved seeing the surprise on people's faces when we just handed them the free goodies, no strings attached.  One young woman asked us, rather harshly I might add, "Why are you giving free diapers?"  We told her we just wanted to bless people who needed them.

So, get your copy of The Outward Focused Life, steal an idea or make up your own, and get out there.  It is soooooo much fun.  Write me and tell me what you did!
Outward-Focused Life, The: Becoming a Servant in a Serve-Me World by Dave Workman

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bring on the new ones.....

My sister just found out that on Friday, they get another foster baby.  YIPPEEEE.  Get this:  I've been asking God to bring them a Hispanic baby boy, and yes, this little one is a Hispanic baby boy!!!  Can you see me smiling from here????

Now, I totally realize this could be a temporary placement.  But, is there anything more fun at Christmas than a houseful of little ones???  Whenever someone asks my parents how many grandkids they have, they pause and say "Well, currently, we have 7, but one is about to be legally adopted so that makes 8, and then, as of Friday it will be 9"!  :))

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dillon turns 7


Here is Dillon shaving with a little play kit a friend gave him.  As you can see by his face, he took it very seriously!

Here is Dillon almost 2.  He was the cutest little fella!

Happy Birthday sweet Dillon(Dilbert, Dillywhopper).  You are an angel.  Your life has changed Mike and I so much.  We love you.  You are talented, funny, affectionate, funny, kind and loving, funny, and well, just GREAT!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I think I was in heaven this morning :)

I know, 2 posts in one day, do I have nothing to do but blog???  I am just so pumped I have to share.  Today was about the best day of church ever!  Mike taught an amazing lesson in Bible Fellowship(Sunday School) on the meaning of the Old Testament Feasts and how they are fulfilled in Jesus in the New Testament.  It was so mind-blowing to see how brilliant and detail oriented God was and is.  Then church service was our Christmas musical.  It wasn't a typical sit down and watch the choir sing Christmas music.  It was for participation--not just spectators!  I cried the whole time.  There were songs by the Praise Kids, songs by the Student Ensemble, Worship Choir, complete with drums and a rockin out electric guitar.  My friends' kids dressed as Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, and wise men(kids in Christmas musicals always make me cry!).  Within 2 rows of us was a Puerto Rican couple, a Brazillian family, an Indian family, a bi-racial(African American and Caucasion) family, and us.  WOW!  I just grinned thinking it looked like heaven is going to look:  peoples of all nations, including children singing, standing, praising Jesus.
AND, my brother-in-law called and offered Mike and Carter free tickets to see the Cowboys play in the new stadium.  Carter was beside himself with excitement.
Have a great day everyone.

Book Shout Out


Can't believe I've never read The Hiding Place before!!  Holy Cow, this book is unbelievable!!  Guys, seriously, you must read The Hiding Place.  It is about Corrie ten Boom and her family's ministry when Nazi's took over Holland.  They are so in love with Jesus and with serving that they bring many many people to Him during the most horrible times imaginable.  She is my new hero.  Her family fostered children for 10 yeas, she alone held church services for 20 years for mentally disabled adults, they hid Jewish people from Nazi's.  Her mother and sister fed the poor and visited the sick.  They were Jesus with skin on.  Here is an amazing quote from the book "There are no 'ifs' in God's world.  And no places that are safer than other places.  The center of His will is our only safety.."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stinky week

This hasn't been the best week.  I'm glad it is Friday.  Dillon has had some poor behavior and had a note from school.  This is troubling because he is usually so sweet.  My mom reminded me that in 3 months, he's had a lot of life changes:  new baby brother and changes to his IEP at school that really threw him for a loop.  Wednesday I got pulled over and received a ticket for wearing my shoulder strap under my arm, not over my arm!!  I found out today it will cost me 142.00!  UNBELIEVABLE.  The comic relief in that traffic stop was that little to my knowledge, Dillon was sitting in the back of the minivan holding Carter's black paintball gun that was headed to the repair shop!  Whew, thank God the trooper didn't see it ;)
Carter is,well, a 13 yr old boy.  He's a good, kind, sensitive boy--but, there's just nothing like a 13yr old boy to make momma nuts, enough said!
Then, this morning I was canceled again at work.  That is 48hours lost since November 2.  Of course, it is Christmas time when you have to buy all kinds of crap, because that is what Americans do at Christmas--hooray, Jesus was born, now let's go spend money on junk our kids don't  need or even really want! We are trying to use this lean time to learn to live on less.  If we do move overseas someday to work with orphans, we will certainly need to live on a lot less.
I usually start every morning off in my closet with my daily Bible reading passage and my prayer notebook to write down my thoughts to my Lord.  Today I didn't get to it until just now.  Cool cause my passage for the day was John 16.  Awesome gift my Heavenly Father gave me:  John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world!  So, thank you Jesus that we are victorious with you.  The troubles of this world are fleeting. 

I'm also sooooooo thankful that we did the diaper give away yesterday.  When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, I think about that precious teen mom who grinned when I gave her the pack of free diapers and she said "We no have pamper!"  See, reaching out keeps our focus off ourselves, and, the diaper give away idea is multiplying.  A dear woman in the little town my in-laws are from is heading up one there.
Heck, I can't complain about anything!  My kids are healthy, I have a sweet godly husband, a warm home with blankets and food, clean water, health insurance, fun and kind friends, and too much to even list!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Great Diaper Giveaway Part 1

So, in 27 degree weather, Susie, Hudson, Melody, and baby J, and I  all showed up to the WIC office in a minority locale.  It was in a strip shopping center next to a Hispanic grocery store.  We sat there for a few minutes trying to figure out exaclty what to do.  Total diaper packs between the 3 of us was 21(25ish in each pack). From 9:40 to 11am we gave them all out. It wasn't as busy as I was thinking. We parked in the parking lot and stayed in the car(it was COLD) and watched for people coming out of the office with babies. I also gave away a small sack of brand new 2t boys clothes that we didn't need to a lady with a toddler boy. We felt odd, like stalkers, sitting in the car watching people coming and going. When we'd see a lady with a baby, one of us would grab a pack and walk up to her asking if she could use some free diapers. It was kind of like "lady with baby at 2 o'clock!!" Most everyone was geniunely surprised and happy. One precious young lady told me about her friend who just found out she is pregnant and due next month. She was saving her baby items to send to Mexico but decided her friend needs them more. I gave her 2 packs and she was so happy. If I'd had a complete nursery in my car, I'd have loved to give it to her.   Many had a look on their face like "So, what's the catch?"  We had a fun time and Hudson and my soon to be little neice had a blast playing in the car pushing buttons.
I don't know that we did anything heavenly, but it was a fun act of random niceness!
 
Next week we have more people, TONS of diapers thanks to Gateway Church, and we are moving to a new location.  FUN.  So, here is your challenge:  dream up a simple, inexpensive way to bless people who aren't expecting it.  Talk about Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Battles not worth fighting


This is how Dillon prepared for the first heavy frost of the season:  t-shirt, tighty whiteys, flip-flops!  I told him get clothes and shoes on so he could see the "snow"(hey, it's Texas, give us a break!) and this is how he appeared.  Hmm, worth arguing over--NAH!  Life with a kid who gives no thought to social norms is very interesting.  I think God gave us Dillon because I'm a know-it-all.  Yep, I admit it, I struggle with that, and pride!  So, now I parent a child who doesn't really fit any of the parenting type books, not even the special needs ones.  We learn as we go.  It is sure fun though.  Last night was another post placement visit with our social worker to check on how Hudson is doing.  Good thing we've known her for 7 years.  Dillon was wearing a Mr. Incredibles halloween costume, Carter had Christian rock music thumping so loud the house was shaking and was shirtless, and Abby had 3 neighborhood friends over.  She showed up to our mad-house ;) 
Mom and Dad came to pick up Dillon to treat him to pizza for his birthday.  Yes he did, he wore the Mr. Incredibles costume to the restaurant!  Fortunately, my 5yr old neice came with them and she'd "dressed up" for the occasion.  She was wearing black tights, denim skirt, pink cowgirl boots, red velvet shirt, orange sweater and a black and white fleece scarf--the little diva!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bottles and Bonding, Serving and a Challenge from my heart...

The best advice we ever got regarding adopting a toddler:  bottle feed at bedtime.  Do not let the child hold the bottle, do not listen to the dentist about stopping the bottle, do not feel stupid about this ritual.  I really think this one simple act has fostered more attachment than anything else.  He looks at me with black almond shaped eyes and I say his Korean name over and over.  Sweet!!!



Here is Abby putting together packs of diapers for the Great Diaper Giveaway on Thursday!  I'm so pumped.  My friend, Susie, my sister Melody and my Mother, and I are meeting in front of the WIC office in a dowtown, lower socioeconomic neighborhood to hand out free diaper packs.  I'm practicing my spanish, since that is mainly the ethnic group this place represents:  Panales Gratis, Jesu Cristo te ama! (Free diapers, Jesus loves you).  I'll let you know how it goes.

And, a word on a different subject.  I seem to offend fairly easily when it comes to my passion:  orphans and adoption.  No, everyone isn't called to adopt or be a foster parent.  BUT, I stand adamant that the Bible commands Christians to care for these children.  Yes, every single stinkin Christian is commanded to CARE(once again, I didn't say adopt)  for the fatherless.  If you don't believe me, do a Bible study on caring for fatherless, and orphans.  If we all went without fast food, sodas, and treats for a year, how much money could we give to orphaned children in Uganda dying of AIDS?  I follow a blog of a young American woman in Uganda who cares for these children.  One of the boys is 7yrs old, dying of AIDS and weighs 15 pounds.  Yep, 15 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Write me to tell me if you find otherwise.  Need direction in knowing how to help? 
Check out Love Without Boundaries, your local Dept. of Human Services foster program, orphanCare International, Amazima Ministries, Shaohannah's Hope, Food for the Poor, that should give you a good start.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why it really does matter

Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez has a lesser known book called The Dream Giver.  In that book he talks about moving his family to South Africa.  They witness a homeless, orphaned boy dead on a street corner.  Nobody knew who the boy was, nobody claimed him.  In light of that profound experience, he writes..
"Yet it certainly cannot be God's will that any child die alone and abandoned.  Surely God placed a particular set of interests and abilities in one person, somewhere in this world, and put that person in a time and place where Great Things could happen-should have happened- for that boy.  Will you take up the challenge that so many have avoided?"

Photo taken from a waiting child photolisting-this child waits for a family of his own.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It isn't always hearts and flowers

Being a parent is tough!  Really tough.  My neighbor said something today that made me want to post about this.  Mike and I don't have it all figured out.  We struggle.  We get irritable.  I was super impatient with Hudson yesterday.  He is cycling through some attachment stuff this week and it gets really really old.  He cries constantly and follows me around saying "Up."  When he awoke from his nap yesterday, he had a panic attack and hyperventilated.  I was right there!  It isn't like the child sits in daycare 12 hours a day, he goes to a sitter once or twice a week.  The rest of the time, I'm constantly with him.  He has vomited in at least 5 public places because he gets very easily overstimulated and upset.  I don't talk about these kinds of things because most people have the attitude of "Well, you asked to adopt an almost 2 yr old!"  Being an adoptive parent is like being on display all the time.  I feel like I'm continually proving to people that I'm an okay parent.  Then, when things aren't going well, the feelings of inadequacy instensify.  Our nearly 14yr old son is struggling with some stuff.  He isn't perfect! GASP!  We fail as parents sometime.  Anybody watch that new TV show "The Middle"??  It is hilarious!  I swear, we relate so well to them.  Dillon turns 7 the 14th.  Do you understand how incredibly frustrating, heart-breaking, disappointing it is to have prayed for 5 years that God would heal him of his speech/language disorder?  He tried to tell a story about something at school the other day and we had no idea what he was saying.  How terrifying is it that we don't understand what he tells us?  What if something awful happens to him and he can't explain it?  Then, there is the momma guilt of our quite, low-maintenance daughter getting overlooked.  She rarely needs help with homework, she isn't needy and lets face it, the squeeky wheel gets the grease!  Does she feel unloved?  She mentioned the other day that she is tired of kids in her class asking her if she can see when she smiles because her eyes disappear into little crescent moon slits.  Is she struggling with some adoption/racial angst?  AHHH, it all makes me want to run away for a day and sit on the beach in Mexico with a cool pink drink!  So there, you can see that we have struggles like everyone else.  God keep me humble!  This is one reason living outward focused and serving others is sooooooo important--it gets your mind off yourself!!  And, there is ALWAYS someone struggling more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Surprise Treat


We woke up this morning to a surprise treat--SNOW!  It is the soft flaky kind that wont stick(a big woe for the school kids--especially since daddy is the principal and makes the call about canceling for weather!!).  We ran around the house waking up the children to come see.  I don't think Hudson was too impressed ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Newest Book Challenge

You guys all know how I like to read books that challenge.  The newest one I'm reading is The Outward Focused Life by Dave Workman, pastor of Vineyard Church in Cincinatti.  The subtitle is "Becoming a Servant in a serve-me world."  That says it all.  It isn't a great novel or literature masterpiece.  It is short vignettes about practical ways to be a servant; ways to show God's love in a practical way.    Here is a quote "Here's one difference between religion and relationship with Jesus:  religion can be calculated and measured;  Jesus is extravagant."
There are numerous stories of people doing small, selfless service for others.  For instance, pay for the car behind you in the fast food line and ask the cashier at the window to hand them a little card with your church's info,or maybe it just says "God loves you."  There are stories of handing out free things to homeless people.  It doesn't take an organization to do this, just do it yourself!  So, here is what  my Mother and sisters and I dreamed up while eating breakfast Friday.  We are going to buy big boxes of diapers at Sam's and separate them into stacks of 30.  We will tie them up with Christmas ribbon and place a little card on them that say something about how Jesus loves them.  Then, we are going to park in the WIC(Women's Infants and Children govt aide) parking lot and hand them out.  That's it, no strings, no gospel presentation with tracts---just people giving them a free gift and saying that Jesus loves them and so do we!  I'm so stinkin excited I can barely stand it!!!!!  I'll update you guys after it happens.  We have big plans for next year's Black Friday madness.  We are going to set up a table in Wal-Mart parking lot and give free hot chocolate and donuts to shoppers.  We will have our church's connect card to hand out too.  Yippeeee!  How fun.
Now your turn.  I challenge you to serve others in a practical way.  Take a load of NEW(don't give away your old junk) hats and gloves to an intersection in the city and hand them out.   After you've done so, email me or leave a comment to let me know what you did.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Hudson, and Thanksgiving Recap


Happy 2nd Birthday to Hudson!  We almost feel like you have been here forever--even though it has only been 11 weeks!  You are worth it, you are gifted, you are adorable, you make us laugh, you are special and God has an amazing plan for your life.  You had to wait for a family becuase we just weren't ready for you(God was working on us for a while!).  We are totally honored that our Heavenly Father picked us to be your family.  We love you!  And, as we celebrate your birthday, we remember you birthmother in Korea.  We are praying for her to have peace, healing, and to somehow know that you are well taken care of and happy. 


Thanksgiving was great!  We spent Thursday at my parent's home with a crowd of 37--including 3 international college students--2 from the Congo and 1 from India. The kids played outside all day.  Pictured above is my 94yr old grandmother holding my 3months old beautiful, blue-eyed neice.  Can you imagine how precious it is to have your 94yr old grandparents around??  And, their minds are sharp as tacks.  Grandad told us a story about selling a cow for 3 cents a pound and putting his money a savings account.  Then, the stock market crashed and the banks closed.  Amazing memories we are privelaged to hear!  That evening we went to Mike's mother's home.  You should have seen Hudson put on the charm.  He was saying "Na Na".  Of course, this thrilled Nana!!  He is really starting to like her a lot ;)  The next morning MIke and I  shopped Black Friday at 6am with my mother and sisters.  We had a blast and brainstormed random ministry ideas.  Which segways into my next book for you guys AND put it into action ideas, but today I'll focus on the last 2 days recap.  Watch for it tomorrow!!


We went to Mike's grandmother's sweet home in the country.  We LOVE to go there.  It is like therapy for us!  She cooked an old fashioned Thanksgiving meal and we ate way too much.  Mike, Carter, and Uncle Craig had "man time" and shot the gun at pumpkins around the tank(for non-Texans, that is a pond).  That afternoon they had an early birthday party for Dillon.  His birthday is December 14 and usually gets merged with Christmas activities.  He opened presents and instead of a cake(which he doesn't eat much of), we made ice cream sundaes.  We put his 7 candles in the ice cream.  It was really cute.  Oh, a funny on him.  Grandma 's gift had pink and orange dotted tissue paper.  When Dillon opened the box, he pulled the tissue paper and said "I no like pink paper!"  That is one of the funny aspects of his special needs.  He doesn't give a hoot about social rules of niceties.  He is polite and sweet, but you always know exactly where he stands!!!


We ended the holiday with Carter playing his guitar, the girls(my 2 neices and Abby) singing and then the silly dancing broke out, complete with Alyssa and Dillon doing a Dancing With The Stars routine!!  What a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Oh how we are blessed.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it is all real. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amazing testimony for parents/teachers of special needs kids

Listen to this lady's testimony. You will be so encouraged. As a momma of a child with special needs, I am super pumped to keep praying for my Dillon. Like her, he has a thick file of testing, diagnosis, evaluations, and educational goals. No matter what those files say, God has a great plan for Dillon and we believe He will use his life to bring great glory to Himself! Watch the video and then re-read Psalm 139 verse 14.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A sweet day


Today was Parent/Child Dedication at church.  It was very special for us.  We had a huge group of family and friends(thanks guys for driving over!).  The ceremony was short and sweet and just perfect, and we had a great worship and teaching time.  Then, everyone headed to our house for Hudson's birthday lunch.  We had a Pororo cake made.  If you are new to the blog, Pororo is a cute little penguin that is super popular in Korea(like Barney here).  I'm so thankful to the people who have donated to Dillon International's OrphanCare in honor of Hudson's birthday.  143 million children in the world have no family to call their own.  No gift could make me happier!




On to my new book. I just finished reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.  WOW!  The first 2 chapters were slow for me, stuff I've read before.  Then it got good.  I love love love reading about people unafraid to live radically and challenge Christians who have all the resources they need, are overfed, happy to sit on their hineys and do nothing for others.  This really challenged me since I like safety and planning.  Here is a quote that is challenging me.

   Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe;  they are slaves to the god of control.  This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Well---he's a normal toddler



All of my kids were obsessed with unrolling the TP.  I don't really get the fascination, but apparently it is super fun!  This little man is so funny.  He is a parrot and copies everything Dillon does.  Today Dillon said something about his backpack and a little voice piped up after that saying "Ba pack".  He loves to "honk" my nose, give slobbery kisses, open and close the cabinets five billion times, sings constantly, and always wants to go outside.  Hudson loves his daddy now and runs to him.  This Sunday at church is our parent/child dedication.  It will be really precious.
Here is the verse we are using.

  Is.43:5
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How do you do it?

I was asked that yesterday.  A coworker asked me out of the blue, "Libby, how do you do it?'  I knew what she meant, but I acted like I didn't.  She went on to ask how do I work, adopt children, take care of all my kids and patients at work, smile, be friendly, not lose my cool, have energy.   First off, I'm totally normal.  There isn't a super human woman lurking inside my body.  I get super tired and irritable at times.  I CRAVE alone time.  I must have some quiet alone time or I'll lose my cool.  There are those days when I think "If one more person says Momma, will you____?  I'll go nuts!"  So, the answer to the question:  Jesus Christ.  That's right, I take no credit.  My personal relationship with Jesus gets me through and drives my passions.  I'm praying to be renewed everyday and to become more like Jesus.  No amount of church-going, good deeds, donating money,rituals, baptisms, memorized prayers and Scriptures will ever cut it!  It is a daily choice to be a follower of my Savior Jesus. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In honor of Hudson

Hudson Lee will be turning 2 in 2 weeks.  I have a request.  If his story has touched your life, please consider making a donation to Dillon International's Building Families Fund.  You see, we were awarded a very very generous grant through this fund when adopting Hudson.  Honestly, we didn't have near the funds we needed when God called us on this adventure.  We stepped out in faith and said yes.  The grant we received from the Building Families Fund made up a very big  hole in our funds.  So, in honor of precious little Hudson, we ask for others to donate to the fund.  Help other families just like us be able to bring home sweet angels waiting for a family to call their own.  I'll never know who did or didn't so no pressure :)
Here is the link to copy and paste in your browser bar.

http://beafamily.rtrk.com/?scid=1253023

I look forward to many families receiving a wonderul gift because of you!

Phillipians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Crime Scence


Dillon is very rarely deceitful or deliberately rebellious.  He generally just has a thought or impluse---acts on it-- you know, no filter.  Tonight I walked into my room and saw this on my bedspread and Dillon standing close by with child scissors in his hand.  I said "what did you cut"?  He simply said "Hair."  He cute a long piece out of the top of Hudson's hair.  Fortunately, it blends in well and you can't tell.  You know, I've been saying for 2 weeks now that Hudson needed a hair cut.  I guess Dillon was going to help save me a trip.  When Abby was about 5, she gave herself a really good trim!  I'm talking mullet style.  Then, she tried to hide the evidence under a stool in the bathroom and acted like nothing was askew ;)  I can't get too upset.  I was truly, the worst child ever.  I know you are shocked!  Libby ever be non-conformist or rebellious?  No way!  Well, yep, I was.  I remember my mom dragging me out of a store with me screaming "You're not my mother!!!"  Amazingly enough, nobody came to my rescue.  I would cut anybody's hair who would sit still enough.  I colored my furniture, ran away frequently, and such craziness.  Good thing I turned perfect later ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fiction Series that changed my life



My sister blogged about this a few days ago.  My mom, sisters, and buds are all into this series.  It is Christian Fiction and it is wonderful!!  I know, it sounds ridiculous to say that a fiction series changes you, but this one has changed how I look at my "religious" background, how I view other races and their worship styles, service, and prayer.   There are 7 books in this series.  I highly recommend them, especially if you are white, middle class, raised in the church!  Gonna step on some toes here(ya'll know I love to do that anyway), but growing up white, middle class, in the church kinda gives you permanent blinders to the world beyond, know what I mean??  Anyway, read the series.  Please leave me a comment if you've read them and how it changed your perspective!!

Quote from book 4
   "Funny thing about miracles though--they're uncomfortable; they upset the natural oder.  One hardly knows what to do with them; they don't come with instructions."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kids! Such stinkerpots


I guess the honeymoon is over for Dillon. Two days ago I was walking with Dillon and Hudson to the playground. Dillon announced "I want Hudson go nother house!" I said "Hudson is your little brother, you want him to leave?" No hesitation, he said "Yes." Dillon's been so focused on for many many years, I'm thinking he is just realizing how much his life has changed these last 2 months :)

As for Hudson, he is a funny little booger. I worked Saturday 7a-7p, off Sunday, worked yesterday 7a-7p. This morning when he came toddling into the kitchen, he went straight for daddy. He would not come hug me and even closed his eyes at me when I'd try to talk to him. Seems that he was punishing me for being gone so much! I'm thankful he bonded with Daddy though. I'm off til Friday, I'll re-establish my reign as favorite parent!
We have decided that Hudson is most likely allergic to milk. He had been drinking soymilk since coming home because it is very common for Asian children to be lactose intolerant. I'd just gone ahead and started him on it. Well, we ran out early last week and I thought I'd try regular milk. Immediately the thick congestion came back and he had diarrhea, and a scalded bottom. Guess we will stick with soy a while. Funny thing, yogurt doesn't bother him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today is Orphan Sunday!!!


Facts taken from the website cryoftheorphan.org

Over 140 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.i

Over 13 million double orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.ii

Sub-Saharan Africa, with 48.3 million orphans, has the highest proportion of children who are orphans at 12%

Asia has the largest total number of orphans with 73.7 million orphans, which represents 6% of all children

Latin America and the Caribbean has 10.7 million orphans, also representing 6% of all children.iii

Over 15 million children have lost a parent due to AIDS, and that number is expected to rise to over 20 million by 2010.iv

Without AIDS, the total number of double orphans in sub-Saharan Africa would have declined between 1990 and 2010. AIDS, however, will push the number of double orphans in the region from 9 million to more than 10 million by 2010.v

Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.vi

Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.vii

Domestic Orphans

More than 500,000 children are in United States foster care.viii

Over 120,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted.ix

Only around 50,000 children, or 18% of those waiting in foster care, are adopted every year.x

On average, children in foster care wait over 2 years to be adopted.xi

Adoption

Over one-third of Americans have ever considered adopting, but no more than 2 percent of Americans have actually adopted.xii

Friday, November 6, 2009

Who is that man in my minivan??



Well, not exactly a man, but a nearly grown man!!  A few nights ago we all got in the minivan for an errand.  I was stopped somewhere and looked in my rear view mirror.  Jumbled up in the way back seat was a stranger with knees sticking awkwardly out to the side, hairy legs and a handsome young man face.  The voice coming from that young man was part-time kid, part-time adult.  Where did my little red head son go???  This isn't right!  We pray for our teen as he navigates the rough waters of becoming a man.  We pray that God would make him into a mighty man of valor.  He is a precious gift.  Ohhh, to have one day back with that funny little boy who got lost all the time!!  Treasure your days people.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Can you help kids like Carlos?


COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2009) – His name is Carlos Daniel, and at just 6 years old his mother died and he became an orphan. After living on the streets in cardboard boxes for several years, this little boy has finally found a “home” and the chance to dream at an orphanage supported by Food For The Poor in the Dominican Republic.

Instead of begging on the streets for food, Carlos now enjoys playing sports with other boys his age in his new home. With newfound hope, Carlos says he wants to be a pastor when he grows up.

Through a new monthly program established by the South Florida-based Christian charity, we can all learn more about Carlos Daniel and other children Food For The Poor helps by participating in “Child of the Month” — a new giving program beginning November 2nd

I cut and pasted the above picture and article piece from Food For The Poor, an organization we support monthy.  It is a pitiful 12.00 a month that we have deducted from our checking account.  Twelve measely dollars that we dont even miss.  Heck, last night was 1.49 kid meal deals at Sonic and we spent 10.50 just in one night on kid burgers. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So thankful




I have so much to be grateful for:  1. I got a raise yesterday! A good raise! I go back to work this week(just 2 twelve hour shifts). Amazingly enough, I miss my job and am excited to be back at work.  2. Hudson went to the sitter all day yesterday, for the first time. He did great. The sitter was surprised at how easy he was. I had been so worried that he might think "Oh, great, here we go again with a new family!". I prayed and prayed for the Spirit to speak peace to his heart.  3. We paid off our credit card. We want to live according to God's budget plan and do what we can to give to others. And, that leads me to say, once again, a HUGE thank you to all who selflessly gave us money to help with Hudson's adoption. From the anonymous person who paid for our homestudy, to Dillon International's Building Families Fund, to the several individuals who gave us donations. I'm truly humbled by your generosity. I've prayed that God would return those blessings upon you ten-fold. And, once we get our savings a little beefed up, we plan to do exactly what you all did--give to other families adopting.

As for an update on the little fella, well, he is amazing. He is so darn cute and kissable. His cheeks are probably calloused from me kissing them all the time. He sings and jabbers from the minute his eyes are open in the morning, to the minute they close for sleep. He copies big bro Dillon. He has added the sign for "eat" to his sign language vocab. The only troubling issue is his eating. He will shove every bite on his plate into his mouth until he chokes or vomits. We can only give him a few little bites at a time, check to see that he has swallowed the food and then give him more. All the while he is furiously signing "MORE." I am writing a letter to his foster mother and birthmother today. His foster mother must miss him terribly. She will enjoy the pics I'm going to send her. As for Hudson's birthmother, she may never get the letter or pictures. But, I my heart says that I must send them to the agency in Korea. If she never comes to read his file, at least Hudson will grow up knowing that we respect her and love her and realize the huge sacrifice she has given up.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Video to watch



My mother sent me a link to a You Tube video that touched her. It was the Contemporary Christian Music artists Leeland and Brandon Heath on a mission trip to Cambodia. The video and pictures are powerful, but the song is what is so strong! The song talks about taking Jesus into broken homes and such.   Cambodia, a small country ravaged by decades of war.  A country of about 14 million people.  I just read a UNICEF report that estimated in 2004 there were 553,000 orphans living in Cambodia.  Yep, I did type half a million orphaned children in that one tiny country alone!!!!!!!!  Inconceivable!  This really breaks my heart and I'll be transparent and tell you why.  You see, the end of August 2000, we had been in the adoption process for about 7 months.  We were losing it.  It was soooo hard to sit and wait and not know when we would get a referral call.  I knew there were kids out there waiting for homes, and here we sat on a waiting list.  It seemed crazy.  So, we began looking at some waiting child sites.  We found a darling 3 months old girl waiting for a family---in Cambodia.  We were so naive and thought we could just make a few changes on our paperwork and Voila, jump over to Cambodia instead of Korea right?  Fortunately, the director of Dillon International was very forthright with me about the challenges of changing countries.  Then, the agency who was working with this little girl informed me that Cambodia had just closed to adoptions, but they expected them to open in just a few months and we could go get the baby then.  Thankfully the Holy Spirit nudged us to stay with Korea and Dillon Int.  That was 9 years ago and Cambodia still hasn't reopened to adoptions.  I think about that dark skinned, chubby baby in the picture we had.  Her name on the file was "Rath Theary."  Many of the Cambodian children were named 2 names.  The first one was always Rath.  Do you know what the name Rath means in Cambodia?   
                        UNWANTED
                       
Can you  imagine growing up with the name Unwanted???  That precious angel baby girl is the same age as my beautiful daughter Abigail.  Do you know what the name Abigail means?  Her father rejoices! 
Both little girls began life without families somewhere in Asia.  One little girl becomes the beloved only daughter whose name means Her Father Rejoices.  One little girl is most likely still an orphan, spending her days in an institution, full of other children whose names mean Unwanted!
Pray for the unwanted.  Give to the unwanted.  Bring in the unwanted.  Go to the unwanted.  Spread the word about the unwanted!



Friday, October 30, 2009

Genius and Adorable



Just in case you need a "cutest kid in the world" fix, I attached 2 pics of Hudson reading his favorite book.  He has only been home 7 weeks, heard Korean his whole life until now, but he understands most of what we say.  This morning I got a spoonful of oatmeal and said "Hot".  He blew!  Amazing.

So, I'm not cool?

Carter asked if he could make his own lunch from now on.  You see, I embarrass him with my lunches.  Yesterday morning, the groceries were low.  I hate grocery shopping and so I really try to save up the list and go once a week.  Yesterday morning we were out of snack crackers, pretzels, popcorn and such.  I don't give my kids chips in their lunches.  I made the kids a bean and cheese burrito, apple slices, little packet of M&M's, Caprisun drink, and a baggie of Alpha-Bits cereal(in place of crackers).  It looked good to me!  Last night Carter said "Mom, it is a little embarrassing for an 8th grader to pull out a baggie of Alpha-Bits and a Caprisun."  So, I bought some groceries and I just gave him a dollar, against every mother instinct in my body, to buy a drink out of the machine at school!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tired-being real

Honesty, plain honesty:  I'm so tired sometimes!  I love being a mom.  But, sometimes, I'm so tired I can't stand it.  At this very moment, being a Yuppy who goes to work, then goes to the gym for an hour, drives a nice new car(with cd player that works), join my husband at Central Market for dinner, then go home to a quiet and clean home, all sounds really nice.  I know, I'm super blessed and have such a great privelage raising these 4 miracles.  Ohh, but sometimes, I'm just tired!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What about the kids right here?

Like I said several days ago, November 8th is Orphan Sunday(http://www.cryoftheorphan.org/) and November is National Adoption Month.  So, I promised that leading up to then, I'd be posting about the plight of children around the world.  Today I'm gonna talk about the kids right in my area.  I did some research on Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services webiste.  In the fiscal year of 2008, 31 thousand children were in foster care in Texas.  In 2008, 6,375 children in the state's custody were waiting to be adopted.  You don't want to travel to another country?  Okay, how about kids in your own backyard?  You say you have no money for adoption fees?  No problem, adopt from the state and you will have extremely reduced, if not free adoption fees.  You say you want to specify gender?  No problem, lots of boys and girls are waiting(typically, boys are harder to place than girls).  Now, it won't be easy.  Heck, the state makes some of the dumbest requirements I've ever seen!  But it will be worth it!  As most of you know, my sister and her husband are in the 90 day waiting period to adopt their foster daughter.  I'm tellin ya, she is no foster child in our eyes!  The minute she came to live with them, she was "ours".  When I say ours, I mean everyone in the family felt like she belonged with all of us.  Yep, M and B have had to jump through some really stupid hoops to satisfy the state, but in the end, that makes adoption day all the more sweeter.
Okay, so you don't feel led to adopt.  No problem!  Did you know that children in foster care can only be cared for by other foster parents, or respite parents?  I can't babysit my neice.  My sister frequently babysits other children who are in foster care.  These parents NEED a break once in a while.  Go through the paperwork and become a respite family.  What a blessing to the tireless foster families!
Or, here is a great idea.  Be a transitional care family.  There is a couple at our church who provides transitional care for newborns whose birthfamilies have made an adoption plan, but for several different reasons, the child can't go to the adoptive home yet.  So, this couple takes care of the newborns for varying timeframes.  They currently have their 55th sweet baby!  Can you imagine a more selfless gift?  Caring for that newborn until his/her forever home is ready? 

So, I know, many of you who are new to this blog are asking, why did we go overseas?  Well, easy, God called us to the children of South Korea.  Children without families are all over the world AND in our own backyard.  Some people need to care for those here, some need to care for those afar.  No competition, they all need families.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Loving the people of Nicarauga and a great Sunday



According to Children's Hunger Relief Fund, one in three children in Nicarauga suffers from some form of chronic malnutrition.  In the summer of 2006, Carter(he was 10) and I went on a mission trip to a children's home in Nicarauga.  We went with an amazing couple who attend our church and have a full-time ministry, http://www.jodykennedy.com/.  They are helping the sweet family, pictured above, who began taking in local street children into their very modest home.  When we were there, there were about 30 children who recieved food, shelter, love, support, and some form of education with this one family.  I was especially touched by 2 brothers(age 12 and 14) who were found living alone in a tree.  The children were so sweet and precious.  The family  who took all these kids in were not rich.  In fact, according to my standards, they were very poor.  The home was small and made of cinder block, with a dirt floor.  There was 1 bathroom for over 30 people to share.  How did the mother feed all those kids??  I gripe about my grocery bill!  Would I be willing to take in 30 children who were abandoned, dirty, had nothing of their own, probably had emotional problems and learning difficulties?  The answer is an honest and selfish no.  You see, it isn't convenient, it isn't clean, it isn't fun, it isn't easy to care for children like that. But, what does the word of God say?
Isaiah 58:10-11
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry



and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,


then your light will rise in the darkness,


and your night will become like the noonday.


11 The LORD will guide you always;


he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land


and will strengthen your frame.


You will be like a well-watered garden,


like a spring whose waters never fail. 

About yesterday, we had a great day!!  Abby took a neighbor friend to church.  Our church is the most diverse church I've ever seen.  It is sooooo cool!  There are lots of African-Americans, a lady from India who wears a traditional Sari to church, many inter-racial couples, several Koreans, a few Brazilian families, and several multiracial adoptive families.  We are so blessed to have a loving atmostphere.  The praise band totally rocked the house yesterday.  Our lead electric guitar player could very easily be professional.  I'd tell you the name of our church, but there could be kooky stalkers out there and if I say the name  the city where we live would be given away!  Last night Hudson went to sleep without the usual drama of crying, getting up and roaming, coughing and gagging, basically acting like he is being tortured slowly.  He was sweet, peaceful and just went to sleep(with me reading in the room of course).  Yippeee!  Maybe we've turned a corner.  He is sooooo smart guys!  He is loving, and funny and the cutest little hunk of toddler ever!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

True Servants

Yesterday I was hit with a thought.  Well, really it was the Holy Spirit slapping me upside the head!  I'm a flake.  No, really, I am.  I'm a bit rebellious, I hate tradition(or doing things the same way just cause), I can't stand being told what to do.  I dream big dreams and have grand ideas but rarely follow them to completion.  Last year I started a Special Needs Adoption Support Group for this area and had 3 get togethers.  Never did anything else.  I don't commit to teaching kids at church because I don't want to be tied down(okay, in my defense, I work 1 Sunday a month).   Now, offer a big mission trip to China or something and I'm all over it.  The daily service thing:  not my cup of  tea.  I'm so glad there are people like that!  God gifts us in all different talents and personalities.  Take Mike's family for instance.  His grandma, mother, and sister have all been going to the same church for years.  His mother and grandmother have taught children Sunday School classes for at least 12-13 years, Sunday after Sunday, year after year.  They make birthday cakes for the kids.  They have Christmas parties and bring gifts for the kids.  The church leaders never have to worry about who will teach their 2 classes--they will be there.  His sister teaches GA's(have to be Baptist to know what that is) and children's choir.  His brother-in-law is a deacon and on probably every committee at the church.  Faithful, dutiful, quiet, humble servants!!  My hats off to them all!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The article that started the journey to Hudson

In May, 2008, Mike and I took the kids to an old, favorite pizza place.  We ordered our food and sodas and sat down to eat.  We picked up the newspaper someone had left lying nearby and began looking it over.  Mike got really quiet and handed me an article to read.  I read it.  Then, I was sick.  We'd just dropped 30.00 without blinking an eye on pizza and soda to fill our already overfed bellies.  The article broke us.  It was from the AP about a 9 yr old orphan in Uganda.  Stephen, his name, lives alone in a mud hut and busts rocks with a hammer every day, 12 hours a day.  He has been working there since he was 4 years old!!!!!  Our 4 yr olds go to PreK and Barney Live shows, and eat happy meals, and learn letters.  According the the book "Children of Hope" 1 million children in Uganda alone are orphaned due to AIDS.
Here is a portion of the article for you to read.

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Stephen Batte works in a quarry under the blazing sun, chipping rocks into gravel with a homemade hammer. It's tiring, boring and dangerous.


Stephen is 9 years old and has been on the rock pile since he was 4.


"Life has always been hard here," he whispers, carefully positioning a sharp rock before striking it with well-practiced accuracy. "But since my mother died, things have been much harder."

His mother, the woman who taught him to smash rocks when he was a toddler, was killed here in a landslide in August.

His T-shirt torn and his feet bare, Stephen is one of hundreds of people who work in the quarry on the outskirts of Uganda's capital, Kampala. Their shabby figures sit hunched over their heaps of gravel. The chink of metal against stone bounces off the rock faces.

Most of the workers are refugees who fled a civil war in northern Uganda. Now they make 100 Uganda shillings, 6 U.S. cents, for every 5-gallon bucket that they fill with chipped rocks. Stephen works 12 hours a day to fill three buckets.

There's no safety code or protective clothing. The children's arms and legs are covered in scabs from flying stones. Stephen says a friend lost an eye.


Rock falls are frequent. Stephen remembers the one that killed his mother.


"She had left the house early to work," he says through a translator. His voice falters. "We did not know that she was underneath the rocks -- not until we saw her sandals.


The article goes on to tell of the horrible conditions of refugees in Uganda.  Mike and I knew we'd never be the same after reading about Stephen Batte.  We tore the article from the paper and put it on our refigerator, committing to pray for the child and what our response should be.  We discussed adopting a child from Africa, or even moving to Africa to work in an orphanage or clinic.  My dad has been to the Congo and my mom to Botswana so we had some practical avenues to work with.  I saw a 7months old baby girl in Ethiopia listed on a waiting child site who was blind.  We sent a copy of our homestudy to the agency saying we were interested in adopting her.  I named that baby girl Chloe and prayed for her to have the family God wanted her to have.  I couldn't imagine a sadder life than being an orphaned, blind girl in an Ethiopian orphanage.  We heard a few weeks later that the agency had a family for her!!  Praise the Lord.  So, now what?  Mike and I didn't know what God was doing in our lives, but we knew something.  In the fall of 2008, we decided to save for our next adventure--maybe a mission trip, maybe an adoption.  We didn't know, but God did!  In February, He revealed what that adventure was---Hudson!  I still struggle with "what about children like Stephen?'  Adopting Hudson was fairly easy.  What about the children of Africa??

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updates and book you HAVE to read


So Hudson isn't keen on his Halloween costume!!  It is Mickey Mouse and he is terrified of it.  Maybe if I put it on him once a day for the next week and a half, he'll like it by then?  Today is 6 weeks home.  Hudson is doing remarkably well.  He added the sign for "milk" a few days ago.  It really is so nice for him to have some way to tell us what he wants.  He is SOOOOO busy.  I'm not being dramatic folks.  Everywhere we go, people say "boy, he is busy isn't he?"  He is very curious, especially when it comes to buttons he is not supposed to touch :)  I think it is a sign of super intelligence!  Hudson is generally cheery from waking to when I make him go to bed.  Literally, he never acts grumpy.  He sings and jabbers and follows me around happily all day. He is super attached to me.  Mike is still earning trust.  Hudson likes him, but doesn't let him do actual childcare activities for him.   He cannot fall asleep on his own.  I've been sitting next to his pallet, reading by flashlight at nap and bedtime.  It stinks to be stuck for so long while he gets good and asleep.  But, I'm reading through the Yada Yada Prayer Group series of 7 books and am really really enjoying them!  Hudson is still struggling with his lungs being junky.  For 4 weeks now he has been coughing, congested and wheezing.  Everyday I give him allergy med, neb treatments and an inhaled  steroid.  I finally took him back to our pediatrician yesterday and told him that no matter what I do, I can't get his lungs cleared up.  Wouldn't you know, for that one hour, when the doc listened, he was crystal clear!!!!  AHHHH, I give up!  So, the doc recommends adding Mucinex Mini Melts and doing chest percussion at night to loosen his mucus.  I did that last night and finally, a night without a coughing fit so strong that he throws up. 
A quick Praise:  due to paying for our trip to Korea and adoption fees, we have no cushion left!  Praise God we can pay the bills, but there is no room for error at the moment.  Well, Friday a large portion of Carter's 8th grade trip to DC is due.  The Lord provided for 3 expeneses for us yesterday, in creative ways.  3 items that came up on their own and we didn't have to use our money!  In the words of Florida(you have to read Yada Yada to know who I'm talking about) Thank Ya, Jesus!!

Now, about the book.  You must read Jansten's Gift by Pam Cope(http://www.touchalifekids.org/).  Seriously folks, this book will totally change the way you view the world.  It is a true story about a regular middle class lady who grew up in a little town in the midwest.  She had the life most of us want:  2 kids, nice house, spent too much money and time on things that don't matter like decorating and shuttling kids to too many activities.  Then, tragedy struck.  After that she began learning what it means to live a life that really has meaning.  She and her husband have an organization that helps rescue African children sold in to slavery, orphans running the streets in Cambodia and Viet Nam.  If you think Human Trafficking in't really a problem in 2009, you are dead wrong!!!  Please read this book and get informed.  The Bible commands that we care guys. 

Psalm 82:3-4 says Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;  maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, rescue the weak and needy;  deliver them from the had of the wicked.

Heads up:  November 8th is Orphan  Day.  Does your church staff know this??  Are you willing to speak up for those who can't speak up for themselves??  I'll be focusing a lot of posts in the next 2 weeks about the plight of children in the world.  Get ready, I'm excited!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life Book




Adoption experts recommend families make lifebooks for their children.  These basically tell the child's life story and can be as simple or as elaborate as the family chooses.  It should tell of the life the child had before joining his/her new family(don't forget that just because it may not have been a wonderful life, it was still his/her life story and should be honored), the process of joining the family, and then life within the family, including important events and people.  I guess similar to a scrapbook.  When the children are old enough to know the details of their birthfamily and story, we will add that info.  My sister Emily is super creative. She even has a blog about her crafts(http://www.faithhopeandart.blogspot.com/)  I'm not--at all!!!  Emily made a small baby lifebook for Hudson.  I just have to get on the ball and add pics.  I've chosen several to include.  Above are pictures of the lifebook.