Monday, August 25, 2008

Bad to the Bone

We are not fans of tattoo's, but Bella and her friend put this on Nicky this weekend. (I can't believe he stood still for it) The expression on his face is perfect!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our baby is getting closer....

We will be having our caseworker here on Wednesday for the final meeting on the home study. She will be looking over our house...we have been cleaning and organizing like crazy for the last week. The house looks great, the challenge now is keeping it clean for 3 days.

We had out first adoption related training in Denver yesterday. The state of Colorado requires 24 hours of training in order to adopt a child internationally. The teacher was great and gave us a lot of great tools to use with our kids now. The focus was on parenting a child with special needs. As we have found in Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew , all adopted children experience trauma when they are relinquished (given up for adoption). Children who experience trauma are considered special needs. Although we don't know what other needs our children (any of them) will have as the grow, this class gave us an idea of some of the symptoms we should be looking for. Nicholas is going through the phase again where he is terrified of the bath tub. We were really struggling with how to deal with this...the kids HAS to have a bath. Learning about sensory integration disorder yesterday taught us that when children have this, the therapy involves slowly introducing the "scary" thing to this child. We are going to try this technique with Nicky and the bath and see how it works. We will start with the tub with no water in it. He might not be squeaky clean for a couple of months, but we need to do what is best to reduce the terror he experiences with bath time. We thought it was a great class and we got to meet other families adopting from Ethiopia with our agency who are in about the same phase we are.

We also had the opportunity to meet and talk to our agency Representative yesterday. Aneata is wonderful and we would recommend our agency, International Adoption Network, to everyone! She said we will probably have all of our paperwork in by the end of September. Our agency will do a referral once the paperwork is on the way to Washington D.C. All agencies have different processes, but ours will do the referral before the paperwork is in Ethiopia. Currently there are five families waiting for a baby girl and only 2 waiting for a baby boy. Since we are open to either, we will probably be getting a baby boy. They are expecting more children to come available in the next couple of months. If everything moves quickly, we could have our baby home by Christmas at the earliest! Wow, we are going to be ready for that, but things have slowed down in Ethiopia, so we are anticipating it will be sometime after the New Year.

We made the decision last week to leave our kids here. It was a tough decision, but there are so many things unknown about how the trip will go, that we want to be able to focus on the new baby and know our kids are safe here at home. Simon's wonderful brother and sister in law, Jonathan and Jenny have so graciously agreed to keep them while we are gone. We are very blessed to have them in our lives...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jessica's Baptism

I had the wonderful experience of being baptized tonight! God is great and I am so blessed to be part of His kingdom!!!!

Five For 50

Did you know that:

$5 a Month Can:

  • Feed 1 orphan for a month (100 meals)
  • Educate 1 orphan for a year
  • Buy new clothes for 1 orphan

$25 a Month Can:

  • Feed 5 orphans for a month (500 meals)
  • Educate 5 orphans for a year
  • Buy new clothes for 5 orphans

$50 a Month Can:

  • Feed 10 orphans for a month (1000 meals)
  • Educate 10 orphans for a year
  • Buy new clothes for 10 orphans

Please check out 5 for 50. Simon and I feel it is very important we instill a sense of selflessness in our children. It must start with us. Our kids need to see us making sacrifices for others. Brandi is such an inspiration for selflessness. Thank you so much Brandi, you have shown me how what seems to be a small sacrifice for us, can make such a huge difference in someones life. We are going to follow your example for giving.

Bella has committed her allowance to 5 for 50 each month. We have committed to match her gift. We are also starting the process to sponsor a child by monthly giving.

If you can not help financially, 5 for 50 has other things you can do. Please check it out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

RLC Blog Buzz: To Suffer With

If compassion means, “to suffer with”. How do we attach ourselves to the suffering of the poor? What does that look like and how do we implement in our lives?

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send they sway hungry, or they may collapse on the way.
Matthew 15:32

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Mark 1:40-42

These are just a few examples from scripture of Jesus' compassion for others. Nearly every passage I could find related to compassion, specifically Jesus having compassion, told of him helping the people he felt compassion for. This tells me we are on the right track! When Simon and I feel compassion, we do what we can to help those people. This weeks blog buzz is related to suffering of the poor and how we deal with it. Simon and I have a special place in our hearts for the poor of Ethiopia. The poverty experienced there is something most people in America can not even grasp. We feel lead to do something and we are actually doing it! I have had millions of times in my life were I have said to myself, "I should donate money to this or that because I believe in the charity." Or, "We should volunteer to help with this or that outreach program our church is doing." But I have rarely done anything the help. It seems to me, Jesus' example of compassion shows us that you not only have to feel "deep sympathy or pain" (Webster's definition), but you have to do something to help the people you feel the compassion for.

Getting Close

We are getting so close to having all of our paperwork gathered up. We are missing two things for the dossier and have everything for the home study done! We met with our caseworker on Sunday again and that all went well. She shared some very valuable in site into adoption. She is learning about us while we are learning about adoption from her. What a great experience! We have our last meeting with her on the 27th. This is when she will be touring our house...yikes! We have a few things to get done before she gets here. It seems the home study is moving along rather quickly. It also looks like we will be able to have our dossier down at the same time as the home study. This is all very good!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Leadership Retreat

I am home now after a 6 day leadership retreat in Breckenridge Colorado. It was a long time away from home, but worth it. I was in desperate need of a renewal in my job. This provided some clarity, but more importantly it seemed to have stirred some things in me. I will post more about these later as I still feel the paint is wet and am not sure where God is leading me right now.

On the adoption front, we received our passports. It is very exciting and it only took a couple of weeks for them to get here. I think the first two pages are so inspiring and make me very proud to be an American! We still have not applied for the kids passports. We were waiting to (hopefully) do them both at the same time. No word from Bella's dad, but he has not said no again since this last time we have asked. We are praying the Lord will move in him and soften his heart so we can take her with us. We are taking the majority of the paperwork for the dossier to be notarized tomorrow. This will put me at about 95% of the way to being ready to send everything to each state to be certified. Yippee
We have out second meeting with our case worker on Sunday...I will update on that after the meeting.

Simon and the kids were able to join me for one night in Breckenridge last weekend. Here are some photos...

We also went on a 9 mile bike ride. It was so fun, Bella rode her own bike the entire way. She is so awesome! Nicky rode in the trailer with Crissy and screamed half of the way. We are not sure why, but he did not like it!