Saturday, December 15, 2012

Journey to Peach Prayer Warrior Update

  Thank you to all of those who are lifting our little girl up to our Father.  I am confident that He hears and our faith is leveling mountains!  As many of you know, we have been waiting for our case to be heard in Thailand, a.k.a. waiting to receive First Approval so we can finish our last piece of immigration paperwork (I-800) and get travel dates.
  We had been initially hoping to have this by October of 2012 but did not hear anything...and did not hear anything... Finally, on November 28th we received an email saying that our case would be heard December 19th (December 18th here in the Western World). Woot! A day to hope for!  However, in the same email we were told that Thailand had just put in a new requirement that adoptive parents had to be seen by a psychologist, obtaining a letter of good mental health in order for their case to be heard.
   Sarah's thought bubble reads: You have got. to. be. kidding. me. This is going to be nearly impossible to do by December 18th. 
   We had been waiting around since March with all of our paperwork done and in Thailand and we now find out we have to scramble to get this record into our file across the world within 2 weeks. The thought of establishing a relationship with a psychologist within a couple of weeks or even obtaining an appointment with a psychologist within that time-frame is extremely lofty. But not only did we need appointments, we needed the follow-up paperwork completed in letter form and in Thailand. What we really needed some favor of the Lord.
  Stressful and a hassle?  Yes.  But allow me to step outside of my circumstance for a moment with a positive note: Thailand is part of the Hague Adoption Convention, established to ensure that international adoptions that are done out of the participating countries are done with only the best interest of the child.  The U.S. as well as about 90 other countries around the world are parties to this convention.  This is a great thing helping to prevent trafficking and abuse.  However, in order to do this, it of course means higher scrutiny on the adoptive parents...[insert picture of large hour glass and tall pile of paperwork here].
 
  I immediately called the Mental Health Associates office in the city and pleaded our case.  Both of their professionals were booked into January, no real surprise.  BUT here's the part where God comes in....one of them is a Christian man that is an aquaintance of ours from about a decade ago---he was willing to rearrange and squeeze us in.  Micah had his evaluation last week, I had my appointment yesterday and we had the paperwork in our hands last evening. 
  AMAZING.  God had ordained this 10 years ago. But then again, why should we be surprised?  Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  I run to God when I am panicked and then remember that nothing catches God by surprise.

 This Saturday morning, December 15th, our necessary paperwork is safely in our agency's office ready to be scanned to Thailand Monday morning...meeting the deadline spot-on.  Thank you for standing with us in prayer.

 Please stand with us in faith the night of December 18th that our case would be approved.  Please stand with us in faith for restoration of Peach's entire being: mind, body, and soul. 
We are praising God that she is also standing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done

My heart beats fast as think about what I am about to write.  Last night, when I told Micah about what God was doing in my prayer life he said, "Why are you fist pumping like the short guy on the Amazing Race?" (...If you don't know what he is talking about watch the premiere from this season, you'll bust.)  I am just THAT excited.  Stay with me.
  God is amazing and I feel inadequate but yet I also feel so fully equipped to do what He is asking me to do.  I know God has called me to pray for our daughter's complete healing, he has asked me to from the very beginning.  The tension I ran into was trying to understand how I could release the outcome of her physical wellness to "God's will" and still plead in anguish and fervency believing that prayer would move God's heart and His hand in specific ways.  I sometimes have had a hard time praying, "God, let Your will be done" and not letting my faith for healing lessen in the same breath.  Is that a sign that I doubt His goodness?  I want to pray specifically for her body to be healed...and yet, Your will be done, Lord.
  Early this spring, God gave me a revelation concerning this.  I pored over the scripture to find times when God healed and his instructions concerning healing.  I wanted to know if it was God's will for Peach to be healed. 
  During my prayer time He began to open my understanding of His Kingdom, the Kingdom He has told me to pray to come on earth as it is in heaven.  In His Kingdom there is no brain damage.  In His Kingdom there is no Cerebral Palsy. In His Kingdom there is no orphan.  And with this small understanding I began to pray that His Kingdom would come into Peach's life. 
  Well, yesterday (and thus the fist pump) I listened to a sermon about this exact part of scripture (If you have half an hour it would be worth your time) that blew my mind.  The pastor pointed out through Scripture how Adam had given his authority of dominion over the earth to Satan in the garden and so Satan became the god of this age and of this world. 
  Satan has a distinct mission for our lives: to create spiritual blindness, bondage, and hopelessness through sickness, despair, and death--essentially life without God.  That kingdom of darkness ruled over the world for centuries.  However....
  God also had a distinct mission when He became a man and dwelt among us.  Jesus broke into His own creation to liberate His people and to establish His Kingdom-- to overcome the enemy bringing peace between God and man and to set things right again.

Jesus went througout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Matthew 4:23-24

Jesus came and began a great reversal, restoring His people spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Jesus broke into the kingdom of darkness that was on the earth and began to establish His own. 

But here's the kicker:  His Kingdom has come, but also, it is not yet fully here.  It is pretty obvious that God's Kingdom is not complete here on earth when you turn on the news or talk to your hurting neighbor and you just know, this is not how it is supposed to be.   And so Jesus says to pray this: that His Kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Do I believe that heaven is breaking in?  Would I dare to risk to pray that the Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven?  Specifically in Peach's life?  I do and I am. 

In James 5 it tells us that the prayer of faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  I clearly don't understand all of God's ways--healing doesn't seem to always come here on earth. BUT I do know with complete certainty that when you bring your life before the living God, it will break down all kinds of barriers, bring you close to His presence, and the final victory is won.

We recieved an unexpected update a couple of weeks ago and this is how God's Kingdom is showing up in Peach:
She has been on daily medication to control seizures since she was 15 months old.  We specifically had been praying that she would be off all medications.

Latest update:  "On the advice of a doctor, they have been slowly weaning her off the Dilantin tablets and now she no longer has any regular medication. She has been very well."

Other Kingdom breakthroughs: "P* understands most of what they say in English and is starting to say a few words.... For the parents' information, she is wearing size 2 or 3 clothes, loves to be in pretty dresses and have her hair tied up. She now drinks from a normal cup without spills and LOVES to go swimming. We look forward to meeting them. "

Your Kingdom come, Lord. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Year Later

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
Psalm 107:2-3

  It's been one year since our lastest adoption process started, one year since we said YES.  Really, it started in our hearts 18 months ago when I saw Peach's waiting child photo.  I didn't think much about it as I read her profile...one of many.  But then, when I told Micah about "a little girl" I saw in the waiting list that day tears just started running.  "I don't know why I'm crying about this...I read about 20 profiles today."
  Well, if you know me, you know that when the Holy Spirit speaks to me, I'm just a bawl baby.  You'll know if it was a good church service by the black lines running down my face. God had moved my heart for this "little girl" when I didn't even know He was at work. 
  We decided to ask for more information about this child and found out she had some major special needs.  We fasted and prayed, we heard God say, "Step out." We went to church the next Sunday and heard a teaching on Peter's faith, stepping out.  We heard Britt Nicole's song, Walk on the Water, over and over. 
  We said, "OK, God. We do hear You!"  We sent her file to a medical doctor specializing in internationally adopted children. We received a very bleak prognosis and....

We got scared
 
We looked at each other and said, "We can't do this, can we?"
  I remember getting in the Jeep to drive to Sioux City that day, turning on the radio and hearing these words from God to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6:  So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you! He will neither fail you or abandon you.
   I knew those words were for me, but I stayed silent.  This is not a decision that I could make, I needed Micah to hear from God. All summer I prayed, checked the waiting child listing to see if she was still there, used all of the self-control I could muster to stay quiet--letting God speak to Micah.  I am pretty sure he knew what I was praying but... I didn't know that he was praying too. 
  On our anniversary, October 4th, he gave me a poem while we sat at a coffee shop.

...I'll share the last two pages with you (Click to enlarge).



I had to crop her picture per our agency's request.
 
Still scared at that point? Yes.  Trusting that God is in control and will not abandon us? Yes. 
And, as always, I have to make my Spirit man answer these questions presented to me by my physical man:  Isn't God's will for us comfortable and easy? No. Is it still worth it? Every. Single. Time.
 
We called our agency right away to say that we would like to pursue the adoption of this little one.  October 10th they told us that there were also two other couples who were interested in adopting her.  They would interview us all and see what family was the best match.  What?!  All summer she was on the waiting child list...waiting for us! Had our obedience come too late?
 
  Were you just testing our obedience, God? I know you told us to step out for her!  I don't want to compete with other families when there are so many children in need.  
 
We had our phone interview on the 14th; which at the end, the social worker said, "Well, you are the only family that I am interviewing for P* so I should be able to let you know by the end of the day."  
 
Turns out one family had changed their mind and the other family became ineligible for the program.  At that point, I just decided that I was not going to fret about a single issue in this entire adoption process.  It was clear that God was making this happen
 
One year later we wait. We wait in excitement. We wait in fervent prayer.  
BUT we also wait in peace
 
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sweet Girl Birthday

In November of 2004, Micah and I heard a speaker at our college group say that if you are stepping out into God's will that you will be scared.  Scared because you are stepping into something much bigger than you are and into something you can't control.  If your life is totally under control, you aren't living in God's fullness.
  On our drive home to our apartment in Vermillion, we had this question on our hearts: Is there something in our life that we are trying to control instead of trusting in God?
  We both knew on that car ride that we needed to start trusting that God knew how to plan our family better than we did.
 
The next fall, September 6, seven years ago,  here we were...
 
 
Were we young?  Very.  Were we ready? Not even close. 
Is God good and obedience to Him sweet? ALWAYS.
 

So sweet...










Julianna, may God increase your faith in order for you to do the things he has had prepared for you to do before time even began.  We love you, you are a gift from God.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homeschool Room Tour

Our school year has commenced!
  First day of school pictures....
I am sure you all want to book me as your wedding photographer...

The school bell actually rang here two weeks ago. We are starting week three of studies tomorrow!
Early? Yes, but we have a very good reason. You see, our Peach will be coming home mid-year and when Peach arrives, well, we will be wanting to take some time off!
So, anyhow, here we go...
The Annual Homeschool post
Do you like to snoop in tour other moms' homeschool areas?
I do! I actually love it. I love learning new organizational tricks and finding out what clever things other families are doing.
  A homeschool e-magazine that I read does regular videos tours of homeschool rooms. Micah makes a lot of fun of them, and a lot of fun of me when I watch them...BUT, even so, I had him record our own little tour today! You can watch it here:




Here is the second reason for my post: Sharing scheduling and curriculum tips.
Sidenote***Does your heart rate go up a little like mine does when you hear the word curriculum? I just get so excited!

Our school time this year is from 9-1:30ish.  Between 8-9 the kids do their chores, quiet Bible time, and eat breakfast.  I tell them, "The bus is here!" at 9 and we pretty much start no matter what.  I do give them some motivation to have everything done by 9, if you know what I mean...

I think one of the best things for simplifying our schoolday this year, has been our Independent Work Charts! Each child has a binder with a table in front that I put in weekly. I printed out 36 blank templates for each child at the beginning of the school year that I can fill out on Friday afternoon (or Sunday evening!) for the following week. In hindsight, I should have just done a semester's worth so I could make changes without a lot of waste.

This system is working so well for us because the kids know exactly what is expected from them for the entire week and it saves me a lot of explaining, which saves us all a lot of time! I can work with one of them while the other is busy doing their independent work. Do we still have to stop for questions? YES, but not nearly like it was last year.


Julianna is doing her reading independently this year as well, instead of reading to me. In order to be sure she is understanding the text, I put a comprehension quiz in her independent work. So she is able to do this on her own, I am pre-reading her assignments and creating a quiz in a flashcard app. on the ipad. She, of course, loves this treat of technology!
Flashcard App.

I am using Little Hearts for His Glory for my main curriculum with Josiah. I was going through this set with Julianna when he first came home two years ago, and I remember thinking that it could be a long time before he would be able to do this kind of work. Well, I have been super impressed so far this fall, he is showing himself to be very adept at this advanced kindergarten thing. I love the dedication and hard-work he puts into learning every day.
This comprehensive curriculum set uses a lot of Christian Liberty Press books-- I love how Christ centered it is. I am using Saxon K Math (given to me!) and Reading made Easy. I cannot say enough good things about this reading program, especially for my right brained child! I am certain I would be banging my head against the wall if I were trying a more conventional approach....I love this. I am finding it to work so well with his sensory processing challenges because it uses tools and cues to help him remember sounds and other phonics rules.
I am using Sonlight Core C with Julianna this year for Bible, History, Geography, Reading, and L. Arts. I love Sonlight and will continue to use it b/c of its global/missional prespective. PLUS, it includes great literature. Look at all the things we are reading this semester!...

I am using Harcourt Math...blah, nothing awesome here and BJU Science which is A LOT of AWESOME. Also, adding Shurley English for grammar, thanks to a friend's recommendation.

So there you have it, our homeschool plans for the semester. And now that I have started a trend, maybe you will share your homeschool with me????

Thursday, August 16, 2012

For our Prayer Partners...UPDATE

    We received an update yesterday consisting of a small collage of low resolution pictures (that we couldn't really see) and.....a WRITTEN report!
We have not had one of those since July 2011!
From the videos that we received January of this year, we shared with you the progress Peach showed; exceeding the doctor's predictions in every area-- except for speech. We heard giggles and some sounds come from her but no verbage.
This has been a specific point of prayer for us over the past months:  that she would begin to speak by our next report.

Here is the word we just received concerning this:

Speech: P* has begun to make great progress in her speech. She can say Mae ( Mother), Nan, Pa and K* (her foster brother).  She is beginning to name some animals and attempts to imitate sounds now. Her understanding of both Thai and English is good. P* can blow a whistle and bubbles, and is attempting to blow bubbles in water.

Woot! Thank you for praying with us. We are believing in miracles here!  God has put in my spirit to pray for her healing. I believe it is His will and I am praying for complete faith and courage to do what He has asked us to do!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Preparing

  You can imagine the problems that may come when, for months you have been loving, praying for, and dreaming about someone on the otherside of the world; and they, most likely have not been having the same thoughts and feelings about you.  They may have seen a picture, someone may have said this will be your, "Daddy and Mommy" but ultimately you are only a picture; a picture that they may or may not relate themselves to. You will be the ones that will take them away from the only world they have known.  Even if their world has been full of neglect and heartache, it is still all they may be able to comprehend. 
And so for months, sometimes years, adoptive families fantasize about the first meeting with their new child and how they will come give you a big hug and say, "Thank you! I have been waiting for you for so long!"  This may be the case for a handful of orphans who have an understanding of their situation and that there is something better for them; however, for most children, that first meeting feels less like Oliver the kitty being taken in by the sweet little girl and more like Nemo being scooped up by the dentist. 
We adoptive families have to prepare ourselves for that reality and keep the bigger picture in mind when our children are not immediately smitten by us.

We are fervently praying for God to prepare Peach's heart for a family and we are also trying to think of ways to stay connected with her in these next months to make the transition a little easier. 

A couple of weeks ago we read our dear Peach a book. She wasn't sitting in our laps nor was she sitting next to us in her bed "on the pillow side."  But we did put a lot of love into recording our voices for her to hear as she listens on the other side of the world!



 God, please put a fondness in her heart for her new family.  Help her to love us when she doesn't know us. Help her to feel safe and comfort when we meet.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gotcha Day!

Today we celebrate the  two year anniversary of gaining custody of this little man!  Thank you, God for all of the healing work you have done in Josiah and how you are continuing to intertwine our lives in an unbreakable bond!



video

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No News is...well, no news

   Have I ever mentioned that updates from Thailand are ever so few and far between? We haven't heard or seen any news for many months now. Thankful that our Peach is in good hands across the seas and in even better hands with the one who is a Father to the fatherless!
    Things can feel like they are not moving at all... actually feeling pretty helpless. Having all of our paperwork done, these mama's hands are feeling a little too idle in the adoption area!  I did email our agency to see if  the dossier we mailed in March was in country yet. They said that they are not normally notified when such happens but they were able to confirm that ours is with the Child Adoption Board.  This is good news! and we will wait, while fervently praying, for our first approval. In the mean time I meander over our last update photos. Want a peek?



Lord, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven in this little body and mind!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

INS...We'll Make it Better the Second Time Around

One of the most stressful events from our adoption with Josiah was obtaining our immigration paperwork. You can read the comic strip story-line that was our trip to get our biometrics here and our more stressful process of trying track down lost paperwork here.
Well, I must say this immigration approval process has been a breeze so far.
Earlier in April we headed to Omaha to have our fingerprints taken at the Dept. of Homeland Security.
We signed in at 7:45am for our 8am appointment and were the first to be seen--out of there by 8:20. It helped that I left my armory at home this time...those officers are always grumpy.
So we met some great friends at the zoo and spent some time enjoying creation. We also took our 2nd annual pictures on the vine swing.
We ended the day at one of our favorite Ethiopian restaurants. Our guests were really good sports.
I am also soooo happy to say that our I-800A approval letter arrived in our mailbox within the NEXT WEEK. Something in the INS office is running smoother 2 years later. Last time we were praying for a miracle of paperwork speed as our approval was the last thing we were needing before we received travel dates.  Things are a little different this go around as we are still months out from traveling but this little approval baby is now on its way to Thailand.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can You Tell Me How That Makes You Feel?

Emotions can be complicated! Especially when they start all mixing together. 
I have found with our Josiah that he picked up on English, conversationally, within a few months of immersion.  I have also found during the past year and a half, that there is more to expressing yourself than just conversational language.  The language of interpreting and articulating your emotions is much different and seemingly, takes years to become fluent in. Heck, I'm not sure I am fluent in expressing my feelings!  Now throw in the mix a few more variables...

What if you were:
#1--a 5 year old boy,
#2-- it had only been a year and a half since anyone cared that you had feelings, and
#3-- no words come to mind when you do want to articulate how you feel to someone...let alone what has stimulated those emotions.

Thankfully, our son can get visibly troubled, cluing us in to some of his emotions. We know when something is going on inside. Whether he is overtly upset or just totally zoned out, he gives physical clues for us. It could be from some circumstance happening around him, a consequence incurred from disobedience, or often, some inner stirring that has been triggered by something deeper inside than either of us can dig to. 
If we try to unpack it, "Josiah, what are you feeling? What is making you cry?" or, when he has left the building so to speak, "Where are you man? What are you thinking about?"  The most likely response from him is wide eyes and shaking his head back and forth. One time, we felt so good when he was able to say, "I don't feel treated very well." Wow! We still think back on that and say, "Remember that time he told us..." However, that ability to express has only happened a small handful of times.
In trying to help him have the words to use, Josiah and I made a tool together yesterday (took me long enough, I know).  We drew a list of all of the feelings we could think of that people can have.  This morning I found this chart online that I have hung up in our home.

Now, when he is upset I can say, "Go to the feelings chart and show me what you are feeling."  Some of the pressure of finding the right words to say is now relieved and he can focus more on where the emotions are stemming from.  I don't know, but I feel good about this. 
What have you used to help your children express themselves?

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
Psalm 6:6-9

Thank you, God, that you hear and understand every pain in every depth when no one else does.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Full to the Brim

What is better, many little posts or one post that is brimming with news and pictures ?

I pick brimming today for two reasons:

1. My life has felt full to the brim lately. 
2.  Many pictures lends its hand to few words (I am usually a woman of few words).

News Story #1:  Our dossier has been to Washington D.C., hand carried to the Thai Embassy and U.S. Department of State for authentication, returned to us, more documents added, and off to our agency in Oregon to be sent to the Thai government.
Just yesterday as I was preparing an envelope to get the dossier on its way again, I received an email saying that the Thai government was now requesting an additional document. Phew! Talk about timing, I am so glad our packet wasn't already en route to Thailand when they made this decision. I was able to type it up last night and have things ready to go today, praise the Lamb!
Here the kids are holding my envelope of blood, sweat, and tears at the post office. It is such a frightening experience handing over something like this to a third party. You just don't want to let it leave the safety of your fingers! The USPS has never let me down so far and I am trusting them again, it should arrive at the agency's office Monday afternoon and then off to the Thailand--I hope they like us! 

News Story #2:  Sent in all paperwork for accepting assigned child.


This means we could also send our Peach a welcome book with pictures of our family, a letter, a new shirt and barrettes, and some pictures the kids had colored for her.  It also means $$$, but God has been extremely faithful in providing for every need so far!!

News Story #3:  I had hand surgery.


Like I posted last time, I went in for surgery on the fingers of my right hand last Monday. Still recovering but I had the stitches removed (all 36!) today.  The doctor said that by mid-next week I should be feeling some big improvement, just in time for gardening. 
Still taking it easy right now though.
Things that have been difficult/impossible:  ponytails, tying anything, taking sheets on and off bed, putting deodorant under my left arm, eye liner, opening Altoids tin,
shaking hands with people at church.
Things that have not been so bad:  homeschooling (only skipped the day of the surgery!), sleeping in until the kids get up, extra reading time on the Kindle (huge advantage for reading with one hand), enjoyable spring-like weather. 
 My family has been so sweet and understanding with me. Even sweet and understanding when I have the kids get in the Jeep from the back hatch and crawl over the seats b/c I that is the only door I can open using my left hand. 
And although Micah has taken on the supper dishes for the past week or so, he has not taken it easy on me regarding our nightly Sudoku competition. Have you ever tried to win a Sudoku against a genius with just your left hand?

News Story #4:  Peach had a birthday!

Our Peach turned 3 on Thursday. I hope she celebrated, we did here!









Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Story of my Hands


  I am preparing my home for a week of strictly, solely using my left hand...ay-ya! How does one prepare for something like that? 
  Next Monday I am having surgery on four digits on my right hand, including the thumb! This will leave my hand immobile for at least a week, I am right-handed wouldn't you know. So, I have made the extra meals and will have the laundry done ahead of time.  I have a great, long book downloaded onto my kindle and two eager kids who have offered to wash my hair and feed me with a spoon.

 This malady in my hands is actually very special to me. Strange? Let me tell you why:  God has redeemed this in a way that makes me joyful and weepy whenever I think about it.  I'm a little bit weepy writing about it now. Yes, that also happens during every episode of Biggest Loser BUT I really am moved by God's grace about this.
  About three years ago I had my hands prayed for at church. A friend of mine had a word from God telling me that the pain in my hands was the weight of bearing a child.  I hid that in my heart and really had not thought about it much until this last summer during a prayer time I had while walking outside at night.  God whispered to my heart that He was using the suffering of my hands to increase my faith in order that I might pray more powerfully for a certain little girl in Thailand that had been on my mind.
  I sobbed as I realized this incredible honor... God using my prayers to heal a child on the other side of the planet. I would weep many more prayerful evenings as he revealed that He was going to give me the honor of being her mom.  Believe me, I tremble under the weight of this responsibility.... yet I trust this path that He leads me on.

  And so, next week as a make my bed, get dressed, and butter my toast using only my left hand, I will be thinking of my Peach*, God's Peach*, who is also going through daily life without the use of her right hand.
God will increase my faith and the power held in my prayers. Hallelujah!

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. 
 James 5:15a

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Exciting Part is at the End.

It has been an exciting couple of weeks on the adoption front.  Working with a Hague country this time, the paper gathering and waiting was a little more intense for the home study than it was for Ethiopia.  We had 2 out of 2 visits completed with our wonderful, efficient, and kind Holt social worker (pictured with us below). Yes, she does read our blog but, believe me, I would have described her that way anyway!
 Our study is at the branch office and the completed packet should be in the mail to us very soon.

The next step is to put the homestudy with our Dossier (life on paper), and get it on its way to Thailand. The homestudy wait, mostly due to background checks from the three different states we have lived in during the past 8 years, gave me ample time to get the Dossier material completed! Ready, set, go! 

We are still looking at about 9 months, praying earnestly that we might be home with her by Christmas.

In other BIG news....we had not had any sort of update on PJ since the information we received last July.  We decided to pursue adopting her in October with the information that we had and were just biting our nails waiting patiently to hear how she was doing. The staff said it was so delayed due to the tsunami that devastated a lot of Thailand earlier in the year. Well,  Monday afternoon we received many pictures and many videos of her taken just last month!!

Before I tell you how she is doing, let me share with you some quotes from a respected international adoption physician we consulted before we decided to pursue this little girl:

"looks like she came as close to death as you can get: miracle she is alive"
"neurologically devastated"
"may never walk"
"possible paralysis to nerves of her throat, could end up with a feeding tube"
"would be cautious of expecting big improvement"

Here are the things that we saw our two year old girl doing in the videos from last month:  

putting puzzle pieces in place

 following instructions

 turning pages of a book

 giggling

 WALKING INDEPENDENTLY

 getting up off of the floor to a standing/walking position by herself

 riding a toy tricycle pushing with BOTH of her feet

 CARRYING the tricycle with one hand while walking

 eating and drinking independently with a sippy cup and SPOON

 listening and dancing to Hillsong Kids!


Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits--who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord works vindication for all who are oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homeschool Happenings

We are in our second semester of school this year! The first semester ended with our Grandparent Achievement Night. We enjoy doing this to let the kids show what they have learned and also to reassure their grandparents that homeschoolers don't just watch cartoons all day. Ha!
Julianna has went through a lot of world history this year and so we made this really long time-line to make sense of it all.  We used some awesome old perforated computer paper--- with the holes on the side. If you need some, I can hook you up from our 50 pound box of it in our basement.
Josiah is traveling through the days of creation and our first semester ended with day four. Genesis 1:16: God made two great lights the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
It always gets me that He also made the stars is just a side-note, no big deal or anything.

 Here Josiah teaches about stars.

Julianna had begun learning about Ancient Greece and so she taught us about the art of making Frescoes.

We continued our study of Greece into the second semester. We, of course, held the Olympics in our house this year.

Josiah went into Day 5 of creation studying fish and birds.
We dissected a sardine noticing it's scales and backbone. Both brave souls here discovered that this canned fish is very tasty.
Later on, in our study of birds we made nests from melted chocolate and Chinese noodles. They discovered that these were also very tasty.

We have also been doing our "Love Project" corresponding with Valentine's Day.
 Each morning we go over 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that tells us what perfect love is. Then for our "project," they draw a scripture about love out of a jar, look it up, and we read it together. They write the reference on a paper heart, decorate it and add it to our love garland.

Hopefully they will be able to remind me of this perfect love on some of my not-so perfect days!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Book List: The Lonely Recliner

This winter has not been good to my reading chair.


 It has been neglected and left vacant, plagued by the spring-like climate that has lingered all season.  HOWEVER, the weather man just tweeked my ear with the potential of 7-10 inches of wintery wonder this weekend.  Chair, wait no longer.


Here is my No Guilt if Not Completed Reading List 2012:
  • Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream--David Platt
  • Christlike Parenting--Latham
  • Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy--Eric Metaxas
  • One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World --Julie Ferwerda
  • Father to the Fatherless--Paul Boge
  • Adopted for Life--Russell Moore
  • Organized Simplicity--Tsh Oxenreider
  • Fieldwork--Mischa Berlinski
  • Erasing Hell--Francis Chan
  • Shaping of a Christian Family--Elisabeth Elliot
  • Sacred Parenting--Gary Thomas
  • Kisses for Katie--Katie Davis
  • Reckless Faith--Beth Guckenberger
  • Secrets of the Secret Place--Bob Sorge
Re-reads:
  • Toddler Adoption--Mary Hopkins Best
  • The Connected Child--Dr. K Purvis
  • Parts of How to Parent Your Internationally Adopted Child