Friday, July 18, 2014

Freedom!

We will never again celebrate the 4th of July the same way in our house.  On July 4th, we officially became Mom and Dad to our newest daughters.......  our country's day to celebrate independence was our daughters' day of freedom from a life in an orphanage.......

Introducing--



Sima














and

Vaida












 Thanking God for all He has done to bless us with our two precious girls!  What a journey our trip was---so many things to share!  Just not enough time!




We arrived home on Sunday night and Monday I pulled a ligament in my knee so am on crutches---thankfully we have had great help here and the weather has been fantastic to sit outside.

The girls have had some great new experiences--





Being barefoot---

Playing in water--

Getting to know their siblings--

It is wonderful to see more and more of their personalities!  We love the bond they have and love to see them starting to experience so many new things.

Have learned so much about His love for us and His love for the orphan---and that no child should have to live out life without a family---more thoughts on that later.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ponderings of a soon-to-be mom again.......

I've been thinking a lot lately of the time when my due date approached with our biological children and all the different thoughts that would swirl around my head.

And I find myself thinking similar things now about S and V.  Instead of when will I go into labor and how will the labor be, I am now thinking about how the trip over and to their city will be.  What will it be like walking up the steps to their orphanage---what thoughts will be running through our heads at that moment? What will the girls be thinking?

Instead of thinking about seeing our child for the first time, I think about how the moment we meet S and  V will be---we know what they look like and  their faces are etched into our memories from many, many times staring at their pictures.  How will they respond to us?  Will I be able to not cry:)?  I know it will be an emotional time for me and Bill and Joe too.

The thrill of meeting our children is starting to fill us--just as with our biological children, as their time to join our family got closer, we would find ourselves daydreaming about life with them.  We do the same now---thinking about the time we will share with S and V at their orphanage, their home for now.  What will it be like to hug them the first time, to feel their hair and face next to ours, to hold their sweet hands?  What joy it will be to laugh and play together after waiting for almost ten months!  To sit and drink in the uniqueness of each of them and the special way He created them.  Thinking about what we will learn about them from their caregivers.  Thinking about the time when they will be able to leave the orphanage and join our family forever---starting a whole new chapter in their lives.  Thinking and praying for them as they leave the only home they've known for years.

Thinking about that first day and night together in their country.  The first morning they wake up with us.  And the trip home and the moment they meet all of their siblings who have prayed and waited so long to have them join the family.

So incredibly thankful to be so close to being a mom again.....

Look at all our butterflies--soon, girls, soon!!








Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Great is Thy Faithfulness......


Bill and I were talking over coffee the other morning about how many ways we have seen God provide.  Last weekend we sang one of my favorite hymns at church---Great is Thy Faithfulness.   How faithful He has been, often through the hands of so many others.  Thank you to so many who have blessed our family and S and V.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

Preparations coming together---

Here are the  girls' "coming home" outfits. For every baby we've had, we've picked out a special outfit to bring them home from the hospital in.  We want S and V to have something to put in their memory boxes to remember the day they joined our family.


There is no shadow of turning with Thee,

A swingset to help "learn through play"----thank you Uncle Jim for all your help and wisdom!  Ellie and Nate thank you for finishing the tire swing before you left:)




Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

Thanking Him for opening our eyes to the changes we need to make in our schedules and calendars the next couple of months.

As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Thanking Him that through this crazy process of the last nine months, He is never changing.  So many things haven't worked out as we planned or on our "timeline", but we see more and more, His clock does keep perfect time.  Thanking Him that He is the same today, tomorrow and yesterday.



Great is Thy faithfulness!

Trusting in Him as the Father to the fatherless to care for our girls until we can get to them.


Great is Thy faithfulness!

Thanking Him for His provision through so many---people finding us items, donating things we need....



Morning by morning new mercies I see

Praising Him for His mercies and grace and that special time with Him in the morning, now hearing the orchestra of birds singing.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Thanking Him that every need we have, He can meet in His own miraculous way.

Pellets and frozen food donated by a neighbor who was moving--thank You God!

Play tunnels and dolls donated by a homeschooling mom--thank you!

A refrigerator donated---lots of mouths to feed so much needed!

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Praising Him for a home filled with joy and laughter and anticipation---


Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Knowing we will enjoy the beauty and freedom of summer with S and V, spending the majority of our time getting to know each other in the beauty of creation.




Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;

Thanking Him for a pillow to place our heads after long days;)

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

So grateful to have space to roam and play outside, as well as many ways to use our bodies to grow and learn.

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Thrilled to have the opportunity to reach out to V and S through e-mails and pictures while we wait---sharing our love for them and our family through the wonder of pictures and words written.




Great is Thy faithfulness!

Praising Him for a great case worker and a wonderful facilitator and attorney in country.  Knowing that He has placed everyone where they need to be to help our girls and trusting them to guide us to get them home.


Great is Thy faithfulness!

Friends who have loaned items, bought t-shirts, donated money, prayed and prayed and prayed for paperwork, dates and especially our girls, celebrated with us, understood why we are doing this,  cleaned out donated refrigerators, and have offered to help while we are gone and once we get back.  Thank you very much!

Morning by morning new mercies I see

The time Bill and I spend together in the early morning talking things over and praying together.  Thanking Him for a wonderful husband!


All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Anonymous donors (thank you so very much) and amazing grant from JSC Foundation----
God is faithful!

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Love this book and so thankful He found us the girls.....



....and that I can be their forever mama!








Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thanking Him that as we fail, He forgives.  As we let frustration, discouragement, fear, and lack of patience take over, He graciously fills us again and again with His peace.

Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;

A wonderful church body and great adoption ministry and support group......




Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow

So many wonderful people who have offered to help with things at home while we are gone---helping with our kids at home, meals, helping us prep to get ready, care packages, etc.  Thank you!!  You give us strength to continue to walk this journey!

Thank you for all the many prayers said for our sweet S and V.

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Praising Him for our newest daughters, S and V--





Every good and perfect gift is from above.  James 1:17

Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness, Your love for S and V, and the hope, strength, and peace You give us daily.



Monday, May 26, 2014

When the butterflies all fly, we are on our way.....

We've been very blessed to be able to send S and V e-mails and pictures.  We are trying to share with them pictures of our home, yard and us to help them become "familiar" with where and how they will be living in a short time.  It has been such a treat to send them notes, telling them how we love them and how precious they are to us and explaining some things we will do together when they are home.

We came up with the idea of a way to count the days until we see them.  Ellie, Nate and I made butterflies out of coffee filters and will hang one on the ceiling every day. Once they are all in flight, we  will fly to see the girls.  We want to take a picture of the butterflies, both those waiting to fly and those "flying"  for the girls and include with each new note we send so they can tell how long it will be.











Fly, butterflies, fly!







Sunday, May 18, 2014

We're coming girls!

Thanking God for a court date and flights booked!  The wait to see our sweet girls is almost over!

We are beyond thrilled and have many lists to prepare for our journey.  Praying that the time will go quickly and that God is preparing us and S and V for the changes in their lives.  Praising Him that we know when we will meet them and for good flights and accommodations during a busy time to travel.

The countdown has begun............

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother

Such a special word to me in so many ways.

I'm blessed by the best mother any one could ever ask for---truly blessed!  Mom is such an amazing woman---a woman whose faith is as strong as she is, who lives out a life of giving to others, who is the most supportive person I know, and who has taught me more about love than anyone.  God gave me a wonderful mentor in Mom--a woman who has "showed" me how to live out all the fruit of the spirit---love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control.  As we've read about parenting an adopted child, we have seen the importance of thinking through your past and dealing with things you need to heal.  I was so blessed to have been brought up in a home in which I was truly loved for who God made me to be (even in the early years when I cried a lot to get attention and in my teen years).  I thank God for parents who built a home that we always felt loved, safe, taken care of, and treasured.  I thank Him for the many sacrifices Mom and Dad made for us, most of them which were unnoticed and unappreciated.  I thank Him for an amazing friend in Mom---a true gem and gift from above.

And a fun Grandma--playing baseball with the kids up north.  I couldn't find the one of Mom playing football with Jack and Joe (at night in November under the yard light).

                          


So many, many wonderful memories--
Ellie's first birthday (she was a little under the weather)--

 A trip to Old World--Nate didn't think it was too much fun!

A birthday card that was really funny!


Fun at the firepit--notice Jack had a plan for the smoke that came his way.



I thank Him for the gift of motherhood---for the precious children He has blessed us with, for the years of joy that I have had seeing our children grow and mature, for the many answered prayers, and for the gift of the two newest children I have, sweet S and precious V.  I thank Him for the model I had in Mom---being raised in a home where children were more important than any item or activity.  I thank Him that we will be able to meet our newest daughters soon---and thank Him for teaching me so much through the wait even though my heart so longs to look in S and V's eyes and hug each of them and not let go.  I thank Him for a husband who shares a love of children and a big family and finds so much joy in the little things ---and puts up with lots of noise, messes and craziness.  I thank Him for helping me to realize that the time we have with our kids in our home is short and helping us keep the right perspective about things.

My days are full and my heart is too.  Thankful today for the gift of Jenny, Jack, Joe, Nate, Ellie, S and V---

Children are a gift from the Lord.  Psalm 127:3  

A great day today enjoying the weather together---






Sunday, May 4, 2014

Preparing--

We are getting closer to the end of this process, hoping to get a court date assigned in the next week or two!  We are so grateful to be at this point and have our trip to get the girls becoming more of a reality.

So as we get closer, we begin to prepare---

A friend hosted a garage sale for us which was a great success!  Thanks so much Laurie!


Ellie and Isabella sold out of their baked goods before the day was over on Friday and sold many Rainbow Loom bracelets.  Thank you girls for all your hard work!  And thanks Hazel for donating the Rainbow Loom gymnasts---they were all sold by Saturday noon.  And a final thank you to the many people who donated items to sell and to Tammy for letting us take over her garage.






Bill and his brother started to put together a swingset---what fun all the kids will have on this!





 Many hands make light work.  This is a "puzzle project"---a custom made swingset with no directions and only two pictures to work off of.  Thanks Jim for your help in figuring it out!!

And we've had some fun finally being outside---what a long winter!












And made lots of art items--