Tuesday, April 29, 2008


On of Mya's favorite memories from being at Eagles Nest orphange in Guatemala is drinking warm rice milk. She actually used to pout and play sick (I witnessed her do it!) and then one of the mama's would come running and feel her forehead and then she'd tell them her tummy hurt so they would bring her some warm rice milk. Now I have no idea exactly how they made it there but we did find Horchata milk mix at our local Walmart. On the package it says to make it cold but Mya loves it warmed up. It has a cinnamon taste to it and she LOVES it. Anyway- if you have never had it you should try some- it's actually pretty good! Not good enough to fake a tummy ache or anything... but still not bad.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I twisted my kids arms today and talked them into letting me take a couple of pictures of all of them together. No easy task getting all seven of them to smile at the same time! Aren't they cute though??

Friday, April 25, 2008

HIV- tell two

The following was copied from a blog of one of the most amazing adoptive mommies I have ever 'met'. She is the mother of 11 children- 2 of whom are HIV+. She is a true inspiration. As I read over her blog post it made my heart ache for all of the people who face the stigma of being HIV+. I believe in this day and age it is time for people to wake up and take the time to educate themselves on the truth about HIV. Although I am not the one carrying HIV- I carry the burden of it- as a choice. For me it comes down to one question and one question only- how would Jesus respond to HIV? HIV/AIDS is the worst plague ever to hit the earth. People are hurting- and the answer lies in providing information that will replace fear with knowledge. When people become educated about the disease and its transmission, they can then reach out in compassion without thinking they are risking theirs or their families’ lives. Those of us that know Jesus Christ know that we have the responsiblity to educate ourselves and to reach out in love. This love speaks of a God who can dispel the stigma, fears and superstitions that so many cultures hold concerning HIV/AIDS. Please read the blog post below and please, please- tell two. Tell them the truth- educate yourself- make a stand for those who are hurting. This is once again your chance to make a difference- will you do it?

Tell two
Today I have heard from several different parents of HIV+ children who are facing negative reactions to their adoptions based on the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV. It is extremely frustrating to me that in 2008 there is still so much unfounded fear caused by a lack of education, that results in nasty, ugly and mean treatment of people who are HIV+ and their families.
The reason people in the U.S. are not educated about HIV is that most people don't care, because most people in this country are not affected by it. People still see it as the problem of homosexuals, drug users and people in Africa. The reality is, HIV/AIDS is everyone's problem. It is a devastating problem in Africa and many countries, but there are many, many Americans living with this disease as well. In fact, new cases of HIV in the U.S. are now being seen in the largest numbers in heterosexual women. HIV/AIDS is a HUMAN problem.
Living with this nasty disease is hard enough, but compounding that with the misguided fear and judgment of society is beyond tragic, and as the mom of two HIV+ children, it is sad and frustrating.
So, if you are one of the many who check in to this blog every day, I am asking you to do me a favor. I want you to tell at least two people about HIV. Spread the word that...
- HIV can NOT be spread through causal/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other causal way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).
- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.
- People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do.
If anyone wants more info on transmission, there is great info on the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm
Help me spread the truth about HIV, and take a tiny stab at the stigma against HIV. Tell your friend when you talk on the phone. Tell your spouse. Tell your parents. Post it on your blog and ask other people to tell their readers. Ask them to pass it on as well. I would love to see this spread beyond the adoption blogs.
Even if you have no real interest in HIV/AIDS, even if you are not involved in adoption, even if you don't think you know anyone who is HIV+... education and knowledge are always a good thing. It is so easy to say to someone, "hey, guess what I learned today?" and it is even easier to put it on a blog or in an email.
Do it for me. Do it for the other adoptive families and the HIV+ orphans that are waiting for homes. Do it for Belane and Solomon. Do it for all of the other people on this planet living with HIV. If everyone that reads this blog tells at least two people, that is a whole bunch of people we can reach and a little bit of difference we can make.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


One of the things written in Kadens file that had me worried was they had mentioned there being a concern about him being able to bond. We would, after all, be his 4th placement in his 16 months of life and the more moves the child has made the more the experts tend to worry about the child’s ability to bond. I honestly do not think we have a problem at all, as a matter of fact, Kaden has initiated skin on skin contact already and that is such a good sign. At first it seemed sort of funny to us, he loves to rub our arm and his favorite thing yet (especially when he is tired) is to lay his face on my tummy.
But what I really wish is that I could just push a magic button and make Kaden know, without a doubt, that we are his forever family- that he has nothing to fear, that we are not going anywhere- EVER. But there is not magic formula (or button) and it takes time - sometimes plenty of it. Furthermore, bonding is not a one way road and it cannot be forced.
Bonding, or the sense of belonging together, is vital for any child- but especially an adopted child. It takes work and absolute commitment. Bonding creates within the child a sense of confidence and a positive attitude that I believe is the most important thing of a child’s life. Touch is absolutely essential for bonding. Yet many parents don’t know how to initiate touch and feel awkward about it.
Healthy touch with good boundaries is the best way to communicate to your child, especially if your child is too young to speak or spoke a different language. The beautiful thing about touch is that it is universal- it transcends language. I remember being at the orphanage in Guatemala and every child CRAVED being touched and held.
Here are a few things that we have done with our adopted children- that most experts recommend to help enhance and secure bonding with your adopted child:
1. Brushing Hair-This can be a great and easy way to spend time with a child. It also involves a touch and nurturing.
2. Schedule/Routine-Routine is so important for an adopted child to help them feel they have a little bit of control in their world that has been turned upside down. Also, it helps the child to know what to expect next and gives them security in their future.
3. Lotioning-Applying lotion to a child's hands and feet can also be part of a bedtime routine. Children of color will benefit from having lotion applied to their legs, arms, face, and back.
5. Reading a Story
6. Clapping Games and Rhymes- Remember the games played out on the playground?
7. Mirror Images- I did this with Mya and Aleigha as well. We would stand in front of the mirror and I would point to Mya and say “Mya” and then to me “Mommy” over and over again. Kaden has already started pointing to himself and then to me when we stand in front of the mirror together.
8. Paint Finger and Toe Nails
9. Play Hand (or feet) games -like thumb wrestling, rock, paper, scissors, or this little piggy.
10. Sing Songs-especially ones that involve touching- we do Chris cross apple sauce and itsy bitsy spider
11.Play Where is Mommy? Playing a variety of peek-a-boo and hide and seek games is fun and focuses the child’s attention on his mommy. During the games I frequently say, “Where is Mommy?” or “Look at Mommy,” reinforcing who Mommy is. This is also helpful outside of game time when I need Kaden to look at me.

As you become more comfortable with your child and your new routine becomes more predictable, both you and your child will likely feel more confident with each other and one day you will wake up and there will no longer be a need for that magic button- true love took over.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Free Rides

One of the best things about being in a big family is that someone can usually come up with something to do on a boring day. Anyone up for a 'sleigh' ride?

Sore Back

I woke up this morning with a sore back. Trying to figure out why, I stretched and tried to turn to the right. No such luck. So next I tried to turn to the left, no luck their either. I have no idea what is going on...

Must be the lump in my mattress

Fun in the Sun!

This was Kaden's first time (with us atleast) swimming. He LOVED the water and loved playing with his big brother Kallan and big sisters Aleigha and Mya!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You are...

"In this world you are an orphan—eagerly anticipating your adoption as God’s child.
In this world you are a widow—longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger—a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven.
And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow."
~Tom Davis, Fields of the Fatherless

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Rant

I’m pretty sure I am going to get blasted from this post… and I want you to know I fully expect it. Bring it on. Let's talk- it's the first step to change.
There is something that has been bothering me and I have to get it out... Some days I am embarrassed to be an American. I know, it’s nothing like the song goes... I’m embarrassed. Let me explain.

I was watching TV the other day (right there a LUXURY in most countries) and this McDonalds commercial came on. I don’t know if you have seen it… but it’s the one where the mother is watching her approximately 4 year old son share his toys with his little brother and basically just share his life, his stuff with him. The commercial goes on to say “this is one thing you will not have to share” and the mother takes the son on a mommy date to McDonalds to get his own happy meal while the little brother stays behind with his dad. Now I want you to know I am not against some one on one time with your child- what I am against is that the commercial brainwashes us into feeling sorry for the child, who God forbid, has to ‘share’ with his little brother. I see this a lot in real life as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say “Wow, your kids must be so nice to ‘let you’ adopt- my kids would hate that- having to share with someone else”. BINGO. First of all, ‘let you’? In my house- Todd and I are the parents- period. We make the decisions. Of course we prayed about adopting again as a family. Of course we had long talks, answered questions and concerns. Of course we took each and every child into consideration. But we had the ultimate decision. As adults, as parents, that is VITAL. All too often I see families today being run by the children. Second, what is wrong with your child learning to give- to give up- to share? That is where my embarrassment comes in. As a country I feel like we think we DESERVE more than we really do. We deserve so much that we are not even willing to wait for it. You know, we just pull out Mr. Visa and go get what we deserve- right then, right there. We work hard you know. We deserve the best. We deserve a break today. (Sorry McDonalds, I know you are getting picked on). But seriously, the media plays into this more than I think we even realize. I want my children to work hard, but I also want them to learn to wait- to learn to go without if necessary and to learn to appreciate what they have worked for. I want my children to learn to live with less so that others can simply live. I want them to share- to see their siblings as a gift- not look at them with hatred because they had to let them touch one of their toys or take up a minute of their time. We might not feel rich some days - but we ARE. We can jump in our car (not walk for 20 miles on a dirt road) and drive to a SUPER Walmart or a SUPER Target and get exactly what our little hearts desire to eat right then and there. We can burn our dinner and throw it out if we feel like it- where as in other parts of the world every single little crumb is the difference between life and death. Yet- we act as if we deserve more - deserve better. We are big complainers. Big time. We complain about just about everything and everyone we can. They bug us, they get in our way, they waste our time.
As adoptive families we act as if it’s our ‘right’ and we deserve better service. We complain about our agency, the government. We DEMAND better service. Because after all, we wrote our check you know- we should get what we deserve. We forget we are not talking about ‘buying a new car’. We are talking about a life- a gift from God- that no we do not deserve just because we wrote the check and turned in our homestudy. We don’t deserve anything. We are blessed-because of someone else’s misfortune, to adopt a child. What we are doing IS a good thing (at least on our end) but that birth mother is hurting, that agency is working with little staff, and even less money, and the child has no voice, no choice in the matter. I have now done a domestic adoption and 2 international adoptions- let me tell you- there are mistakes made from all sides. It all goes slower than we want- or believe that we deserve. We make mistakes, agencies make mistakes, governments make mistakes. Period. But the child is the blessing- and God lets that happen-we never once deserved it. We are no better than the child that God gave us- they owe us nothing. There is nothing that I did to deserve to parent my children. Any of them. Ever. I have seen with my own eyes the look of despair, the loss of hope in children and parents in Guatemala. I have seen their living conditions- no running water, dirt floors, tin roofs and yet they still praise God for that. How can we feel ok after knowing that and yet still complain about our less than perfect service?
My prayer for us as Americans is to stop brainwashing our kids into thinking they deserve the world- and to stop thinking it ourselves. To teach our children to share, to teach them compassion, to teach them to look outside their own needs and to really see how blessed they are. Tell them that name brand clothing does not make them any better than anyone else… help them to not judge a person by the color of their skin or the car they drive. Pull them from out behind the TV, the Xbox and even the computer and teach them to really live life. Learn to say the word “No”. Quit blaming their teachers when they misbehave in class. Show them how to find real happiness, a purpose, meaning to life. Spend time with them, explain to them to be aware of falling into the ‘all about me’ trap. Better yet- be a living example. It’s got to start with us- we have to teach them the truth. Let them be the kind of American’s one day that we really can be proud of, because this generation is blowing it. Now everyone put your right hand on your heart and repeat after me… I pledge allegiance to the flag…

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mommy mistakes

I have a confession to make- I blew it today as a mother… and it was ugly. I am not proud. I think it was the blue toothpaste running down the bathroom cabinet that finally did me in. No, maybe it was the dirty socks stuffed under the mattress in the boys room… or perhaps it was the spoiled lunch box smell coming from the back seat of my car. No, I take that back- it was definitely the booger someone wiped on the wall next to the toilet. Maybe it was a combination of it all, but I lost it. Veins sticking out, bad mommy look on my face, raised voice- ugly.
And I wish I could say I realized it right away, but I didn’t. It took the 4 big kids leaving for school and the 3 little kids with their eyes glued to Little Einsteins that I finally had the time to take a deep breath and calm myself down. Then I had to get right with God.

“When you realize your guilt… you shall confess the sin that you have committed. Leviticus 5:5

All too soon, these seven kids will be gone, and along with them- the blue toothpaste, dirty socks, lunchboxes and heck, even the booger. All too soon, the days will pass away- and my life will end. When I look back will I treasure the memories or will I be faced with the reality that I let the little things, the things that really don’t matter steal life from me? Each day we live is a gift from God- each moment precious. I’m still not convinced that whoever invented the blue toothpaste was the most brilliant person around- but I know my kids are. Who else could take a dab of toothpaste, mix it with water, regurgitate it and make it cover an entire bathroom sink? Clever. Very clever.

“Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. “Psalm 90:12

Lord, help me to see each day, each moment, as a gift from you. Help me to be an example to my children of your love. Help me to forgive, to teach, to be thankful in every moment I am given with them. Recharge my strength when I feel weak, renew my spirit when I am overwhelmed. Fill me with your holy spirit so that I may respond to others with a kind work, a gentle touch and a sincere smile. Lord, let them see you through me.

Recipe~ Pumpkin chip muffins

I got this recipe from my mom and they are sooooo good. (They're like the pumpkin cookies Heather).

Pumpkin chip muffins
1 c. pumpkin
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. veg. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. milk choc. chips
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix oil, pumpkin, eggs. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Fold mixes together and add chocolate chips. Put in muffin tin lined cups. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool. Makes 2 doz. Yummy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Praying Hands

About a week ago Kaden started calling me "mama" and it made my heart melt. But today, today he did something that made me the happiest mommy alive. Today- Kaden learned to pray. Ever since he came home to us we have been praying with him. He has seen us do family devotions, watched us pray at every meal and sat on my lap while we prayed before bed. In just 2 short weeks with us, he put his little hands together today and prayed for the very first time. I would not be more proud if he got straight A's, was crowned homecoming king or made the winning touch down! MY BABY BOY PRAYED and while I know it's just a start, he is on his way to learning more about Jesus. To me, there is nothing to be more proud of.
Lord, may he grow to know you more and more every day.

Side walk paint

I found this idea from another blog awhile back and it is still one of the girls favorite thing to do. Painting the sidewalk for mommy! I fill up a bowl of soapy water and give them a real paintbrush and they paint the side walk for me for hours. (no mess for me to clean up either!) Gotta love the imagination!

What I see in the middle of the night...

What I see in the middle of the night... ALL NIGHT long.

It's three AM, they're all asleep,

and no-one's here to see.

As we rock slowly back and forth,

My baby boy and me.

His little hand is feather light

Tucked up against my chin.

I hold his tiny hand in mine,

and stroke his baby skin.

The house about us creaks and groans,

The clock hands creep around.

He snuggles closer to me still,

And makes his baby sounds.

I love these quiet hours so much,

And cherish every one.

Store memories up inside my heart

For lonely nights to come.

All too soon he'll be grown up,

His need for mama gone.

But until then I still have time

For kisses and for song.

Time for quiet hours like this

With him cuddled in my arms,

Where I wish he'd always stay

Protected, safe and warm.

And yet I know the day will come

When his tiny little hand,

will be bigger than my own.

He'll grow to be a man.

But until then he's mine to love

With no one here to see.

As we rock slowly back and forth,

My baby boy and me.

...Author Unknown

On your shoulders

Ever feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?

Maybe you really are!!

Just the way you are...

A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam.
He called his parents from San Francisco.
"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've got a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring with me."
"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."
"There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mined and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."
"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."
"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."
"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."
At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.
A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are.
Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are. Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!!

Father, thank you so much for our precious son. Thank you for letting us love him just the way he is... and thank you God for doing the same for us- loving us just the way we are.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ya Gotta have friends...

Children are God's way of telling us that tomorrow will be beautiful...

Today my great friend Leslie came over to meet Kaden and for our kids to get together and have some fun. My kids so look forward to their visits and I always love catching up with Leslie. She is one of my most favorite people in this world. I love watching all of our precious children play together and share a bond that not just anyone would understand. Thanks Leslie for your friendship- you bless me.

Enough in Life

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bald is beautiful!

Move over Grandpa- Kaden wanted to look like you!

We had been throwing around the idea of shaving Kaden's hair for awhile now. One of the biggest questions when adopting an African American child is hair care. I had read up on it quite a bit and asked others questions, but in all honestly, I don't think I was doing the greatest job. Kaden's hair was feeling really dry despite my best efforts of putting oil on his hair daily. Anyway- the kids talked me into shaving his hair today, and after the fabulous time he had in our sand box today unto which half of the sand ended up in his hair- I had to agree. I'm not sure if I am totally used to it yet- but my kids think he looked like Michael Jordan. I just think he is CUTE no matter what.

Home improvements

Good thing I just blogged about how I loved my house cause after hours upon hours working on Kaden's room today- I'm not sure how much I am loving all this home improvement business. (My arms hurt, my back hurts and I hurt!) My awesome friend Brandy who I met at church came over today to help me- (or more like teach me). We worked hard taping and mudding Kaden's new room. For those of you who have never done that before- you gotta try it- you have no idea what you are missing. ;0) No really- as Brandy and I were working away I knew that God once again had blessed me with a friend who would stand by my side, with Spackle in hand, and help out just because that is the kind of friend she is. I am sure she had a MILLION other things she would rather be doing- but she chose to help me today and I TOTALLY APPRECIATE YOU BRANDY! THANK YOU!!!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Friday, April 4, 2008

Home is where your heart is

I truly love where we live… when we came house hunting a little over a year ago now, we were just so frustrated trying to find the right house for our family. Almost everything we could find that we could afford, was too small for our ever growing family. I kept praying and asking God to put us exactly where He wanted us to be- and I’d deal with the rest. Well, down at the very end of a long gravel road was where we found our safe haven. It was the only house out of the 100 that we looked at that both Todd and I thought 'this could be it'. Yet, once we stepped inside- we were so disappointed. It was definitely a fixer upper- the carpets were stained and really stinky, the walls were dirty and the kitchen was neon green with red counter tops. (Not kidding). Yet, we both knew this would be our new home. Today, after a year of hard work and ongoing construction-(as we can afford it) I THANK GOD for leading us down that gravel road to our new home. It may not be perfect, it may not be grand- but it is the perfect place for us to raise our children and make precious memories.
Lord, I ‘thought’ I needed more… but you knew exactly what I needed. I needed more of you… I was still fighting the idea that happiness is in materialistic things, I was confused and led astray by the world views of success and you knew that Lord, you knew me, and you knew what was best.

Today as I took my children outside for a walk around our yard, I saw you Lord - you were there, just as promised- and there is nothing else I desire more. I saw you in the eyes of my children, I saw you in their smiles. I saw you in the beautiful flowers and the still pond. Thank you for your presence in our home, our lives and our family. Thank you for providing this home for us, where we feel safe, loved, secure. A place where we can grow, and change- a place where we can focus on you. Thank you for knowing exactly what I need. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

1st post placement visit

Today our caseworker came out for Kaden's first post placement visit. It went really well and she told me she was blown away at how much he had already bonded to us. He of course put on the charm for her (that's my boy) but there was no way he was going to let her get too close to him either. He is definitely a mama's boy. I am so proud of my little man and we are crazy in love with this precious child! We feel really blessed to be working with such an amazing agency- they truly care about these children they serve. She told me what a huge need there is for foster/adoptive families right now- and how so many times she has seen other children come through the system who would flourish in a good family-but there are just not enough out there. If God has ever spoken to you and put fostering or adopting in your heart- I beg you to take that first step... you will never, ever regret it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Questions and answers

This will be a very blessed Mother's Day. What will you do?

I had to run and check my calendar to see when Mother's Day was! One because I panicked due to the fact that I haven't thought of anything to get my mom (I know mom- you always tell me not to get you anything!) and also because Mothers Day is MY FAVORITE. Yep- you are going to see first hand, right here and now how shallow I really am. I love Mother's day because it's all about ME! (Sad, but true). I know- my birthday is also about me, but I have to turn a year older on that day and that is never fun. But Mother's Day- it's all good. You see, we have this sort of unspoken rule here in my family on Mother's Day...the kids, they aren't allowed to fight with each other on Mother's Day- at all, ever. They spend the entire day biting their lip, smiling at one another and treating me like a queen. Their dad has done a very, very good job at brain washing them into believe that this HAS to be done at least once a year. So yes, every Mother's day I wake up to breakfast in bed (typical menu of burnt peanut butter toast) and a mangled dandelion in a vase. (my favorite). The kids then present their beautiful 'handmade gifts' that some wonderful teach thought of and knew would just make my day. Then they quietly dress in their Sunday best for church, careful not to cause any problems for their dear mother. After church I am treated to lunch out and then off the nursery we go to pick out a couple of hanging baskets for our front porch and perhaps some other flowers to plant in various flower beds around our house. Everyone joins in this event whether they want to or not (yes my teenage boys especially love this part). As evening comes and our long day of togetherness comes to an end, I slip into bed with a smile on my face- reliving the memories of the day. My kids on the other hand, head off to bed exhausted and glad the day is over- for tomorrow they can go back to life as they know it-me waiting on them.

Questions and answers

What is the exact foster adopt process?? we are looking into possibly doing this; however, we are not on the same page right now. We are still praying, but I would love to get some info from someone who has done it. Thanks.Elizabeth

While my heart will always, always be in international adoption for obvious reasons (those kids don’t have a government who will provide for them- food, clothing, health care, etc) we really enjoyed adopting from the foster care system as well. I will be honest and tell you that I had heard some horror stories and I was a little sceptical going into it- but to be fair, I had heard horror stories about international adoption as well. I would say the biggest difference was the cost. Obviously international adoption is quite expensive (although worth every single penny of it)- the foster adopt process is FREE! Paperwork wise- it was about the same for us as with international adopt. With international adoption though we did not have to take ‘parenting classes’ and with the foster system we did. When we first signed up for the classes I figured there was not a whole lot they were going to be able to teach me- after all, I already had six children- and 2 of them were adopted. Boy was I wrong. Todd and I really, really enjoyed the 2 weeks worth of training and learned so much! We went with a Christian agency so it had a Christian view on the teachings and it was wonderful. As for the wait- for most families the wait is very minimal. For us- because of our family size, we are considered a ‘group home’ (yikes) so we did have to wait a little longer. The more open you are to race, age, sex, or special needs- the quicker it will happen. The more selective you are- the longer it may take to find a match. I have known many families who have a match within a day to a week. With Kaden- we are doing a straight adoption out of the foster care system. You can do that if they find a child who is legally free for adoption like Kaden was- meaning the parents rights were already terminated. Or you can foster to adopt- and if the child becomes legally free the foster parents always have the first option to adopt. Kaden’s foster parents didn’t feel it was right to adopt him due to their age. Doing the foster to adopt route is typically the quickest- although, you have to be willing to put your heart on the line and know there is a chance that child might go back to their birth parents- or relatives. (but think of the difference you made in their lives while you had them!) Or you can just foster- and most likely they will place a child with you who they do not feel will become free for adoption- although, again there are never any guarantees. We chose to go through an agency and not straight through CPS (child protective services). I am really glad we did. I love our agency- love what they stand for and the people are fantastic. If we have any problem they are right there by our side- and once again- for free. :0) Because Kaden is African American and because he has a special need- he does receive subsidy until he is 18. It is not a lot, but enough to help raise him. Also, because he was a foster child- he will also go to any state college in our state for free. I guess that was a lot more info than you really asked for-so I’ll finally get to your real question. The process: Find a good foster agency and sign up for classes. (each agency seems to vary on how they do their training). Ours was during the evenings and weekends- some just do weekends. After the training they will do a homestudy on your family, talk to you about what kind of child you are open to and talk through any questions or concerns you might have. Then once you get fingerprinted and the fire marshal comes out and inspects your house - you are done and ready to go on the waiting list. Actually it was all really easy and so worth it!!!

Not my strength, but yours

Something has been bothering me… I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew something wasn’t quite right. I was handling everything ok, or so I though… I was taking care of the kids, making sure everyone was getting their share of attention, the laundry was being done, dinners were being prepared. Sure we still had ongoing construction on our house, and we had just done a garage sale in the middle of adding child #7- but something was missing… something felt wrong. I scurried through the day, washing down the counters, picking up the dirty socks that were left under the bed, the school papers were signed, dentist appointments were made, and the dog was walked. Yet, I still felt lost, disconnected. Then ever so gently, I felt Him- that soft nudge. It was almost as if I felt God's hand on my shoulder and I heard his voice say ‘But do you have time left for me?” You see, so often we run through the day filling the hours with so many different things. Those things might all be ‘good things’ or even important things- but none of them are more important than spending time with God. These past few weeks have been great- I had been praying for this for so long. But the one thing I forgot as I crashed into bed each night- was to spend time with God. I was careful to listen to my kids feelings, Todd and I spent time talking with each other, I had met all of Kaden's needs- but I forgot about God. I was so focused on trying to ‘do it all’ and ‘make it all work’ so busy with my plans that I didn’t even look to the one who planned this day for me in the first place.

It amazes me how God will just sit and wait patiently… how He’ll let us try to run around and ‘figure it all out’ on our own- while He waits for us to notice Him. As I fell on my knees before Him today asking for forgiveness- I told Him how sorry I was that I tried to take over and do things my way and I felt the biggest weight disappear off my shoulders. How about you? What are you trying to do your own today? Have you turned it over to Him? God gave me the blessing of this new child- and let me be a part of His plan. He asked me to work with Him raising Kaden (as well as my other children) not for me to try to take over and take on the world on the own. If ‘I’ keep getting in the way of His plan- then what good will that do Kaden or anyone else for that matter?
Philippians 4:13 says “I can do everything through him who gives me strength." So you see, I can do what He has planned for me to do THROUGH HIM- NOT on my own-and that is exactly what I had been trying to do. Even in my best efforts, even with a pure heart- I was trying to do it on my own. That is not what He intended for me to do- not a burden He intended for me to bear.
Lord, help me to take each day one at a time, to look to you when I feel weak as well as when I feel strong. Help me to walk beside you always. You are an open door where we can find comfort, rest, strength and healing. When I get caught up in the busyness of life- remind me that I am not alone. These gifts you have given to me were never intended to wear me down- but to be pure blessings. Help me Lord to be so close to you that you are seen in my walk, my talk, my emotions and in my life. May I be an example of a broken life made complete in you.

QUESTIONS anyone??

Ok- since I don't have as much time to write or think of blog posts I was wondering if any of you had any questions you'd like to ask me? Maybe about raising 7 kids, about foster adoption vs. international, about being a multi racial family, my shoe size-really anything. Fire away!!!