Monday, April 11, 2016

Home Study is Done

Gladney's Superkids team is in China visiting children and helping at the orphanage. It is one of the reasons I love the agency I have used for our adoptions. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They have a very full schedule. It was on one of these trips that they ran into Brooklyn in a hallway. They were not suppose to meet her but God had other plans.

On a personal note, they will be at Molly's orphanage the 21st and 22nd. Can't wait to get some first hand reports on her as well as some pictures and video. I'll post them when I have them.

Since I gave away all of Brooklyn's clothes, people passing things on to me or telling me they will be as they clean out closets is such a blessing.

Brooklyn helped me pick out some decorations and a quilt for Molly's room. Tomorrow my brother-in-law, Don McEvoy, is coming over to help me sort through some of my storage. This will help me get ready for a rummage sale but also provide a place for things I currently have in our office. I need to empty the office so it can be painted and made into Molly's room. It may seem early to do this, but it really helps me get mentally ready for the new child and gives me a place to go with some of things I am gathering for her.

Stay tuned for information on the rummage sale. This will be a very guy friendly sale as it should include tools and electronics. It is time to sort through some of Dennis' things. I know he would love that the money raised will go to bringing another child home and change her status from orphan to daughter. My plan is to have it shortly after school gets out in early June. If you have items you would like to donate to help bring Molly home, just let me know.

My home study is done and hopefully will be on its way to immigration yet this week. It needed to go to Illinois for a signature from the caseworkers supervisor and then it will be ready to file. This step is taking about 60 days right now.

Keep praying for Molly. She does not know she is getting a family yet but God can be preparing her for this transition. My best guess is another six months before all the paperwork is completed and we can go get Molly.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Paper Chase

If you see me a bit blurry eyed and frazzled lately, it is probably because I have been spending a lot of time filling out paperwork both for Gladney, the agency that is handling my adoption and Lifelink, the agency that is doing my home study.   I am so glad I kept copies of all of this from Brooklyn’s adoption.  It has definitely helped in completing some of the many documents I need to compile.

Last week was an interesting week.  I saw a posting for a little girl from Taiwan.  I contacted Gladney about her and requested if they would ask about an exception to single parent adoption restrictions.  Taiwan did say they would consider my application for her but there was already a family in process of trying to adopt her.  In addition, the process is very different than China and there were many points at which the adoption could be denied.  After discussing this with several people, the one clear message I was receiving was that it would not be good for Brooklyn or me to go into an adoption that had so many chances of not being completed.  We do not need another loss at this point.

So, I am continuing down the path to an adoption from China.  This week I had my first visit with the home study case worker.  In addition, I will have fingerprints done for an FBI “Rap Sheet”.  We didn’t have to do this step with Brooklyn.  I will have fingerprints done again for Homeland Security when I apply to immigration to bring my daughter into the country. One thing you lose in the process of an adoption is any sense of privacy.  Fingerprints are only the tip of the iceberg but the end result is so worth it.  I’m hoping to have my home study done sometime in April.  Most of the other paperwork for compiling the documents I need to send to China is in process.  

The most amazing news from the last few weeks came as a total surprise to me.  I had dropped off my taxes with the accountant a few weeks ago.  Needless to say, with Dennis’ death this year, they were a bit complicated.  The accountant and I both assumed I’d be paying in this year.  Yesterday he called to set up an appointment to pick them up.  I asked him how much I’d be paying.  To my great surprise, I am getting a very nice refund.  This will go directly into my adoption fund.  I am so excited to see how God is supplying for the costs associated with the adoption.  

I ran across this on Facebook and love it:
God Never Gives you a dream that matches your budget.   
He’s not checking your bank account; He’s checking your faith.

Please keep praying for:

  • The process to go smoothly.
  • Complete clarity on identifying the little girl who is supposed to be in my family.
  • The little girl's heart to be ready to be part of a family.
  • God’s continued provision financially for the adoption costs.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sometimes God Speaks in a Gentle Whisper but Sometimes He Uses a Bullhorn

God speaks to us in many ways.  He speaks through his Word.  He speaks in a gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.  He speaks through other people.  Often it is a gentle whisper, guiding us in a direction he chooses but sometime, He speaks loudly, as if with a bullhorn.  
God recently has been speaking to me in all of these ways.  About five years ago, God called us to adopt.  One year and a mound of paperwork later, Dennis and I were in China meeting our daughter, Brooklyn.  Even while we were still in China, we knew we wanted to adopt again.  While visiting the orphanage we saw the faces of so many children in need of a family.  Our hearts were overwhelmed at the need and we could not help but reflect on James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Little did we know at that time that our world was about to change.  Three months after we adopted Brooklyn, Dennis was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He fought a 32-month battle and during that time left behind a legacy of faith in God’s plan for his life and love for his family. Even during his illness, we would talk about our hope to adopt again.  When it became clear he would not beat this cancer, he and I discussed the possibility of me adopting once he was gone.
In the year since Dennis has been gone, I’ve entertained the idea of adopting again.  I have felt the tug at my heart to do this.  Many times I would find myself looking at the profiles of children who were waiting for a family.  God in his quiet way kept speaking to my heart.  A few weeks ago he used a bullhorn to tell me this was His plan for me.  I was getting ready for church that morning and thinking about how God had used a sermon to confirm our adoption of Brooklyn.  I thought/prayer, “Wouldn’t it be cool if God used a sermon to confirm if I was to adopt again?”  At that point, the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart to add, “Today.”  I’ll admit, my thought was more along the lines of, “Not a chance!”  So I went to church and the bullhorn sounded.  My pastor’s words went something like this, “Don’t give up on your God given calling, like some of you have been called to adopt.”  I could not believe what I had just heard.  I knew in my heart this was God’s confirmation of His direction in my life.  
My next step is to follow God’s leading and trust Him with this journey.  I’m in the early stages of the process to adopt a school age child from China.  Please keep me in your prayers in the weeks ahead.  I'm already busy with paperwork. I have submitted a packet of papers to my adoption agency, started the home study process, sent in my passport for renewal, made appointments for physicals...a lot has happened in the last week. God is faithful and will bring this to completion in his time and way.
Please prayer for Brooklyn and me as we prepare for this addition to the family. Although I don't know yet who will be my daughter, God does. Please pray for her as well. This will be a huge change in her life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Restoring the Years of the Locust

Joel 2:25a - I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten

You may be familiar with this verse from the book of Joel.  In fact, if you’ve been in church for any length of time, you have probably heard a sermon or two based on this verse.  It probably went something like this:
  • There have been hard years in your life – could be from sin or natural events – such as illness – but the trial is long and hard.
  • God will restore those lost years and make it new.

What a wonderful, redemptive picture.  Our hard times are not hopeless or wasted.  With repentance comes restoration in the case of sin.  With trials, comes growth, hope and promise for the future.   These years are not wasted.  Amazing and so encouraging.

But as I have been pondering what these restored years may be like, I realize restoration does not give those years back or even make it exactly as it was before. 

The Old Testament book of Job gives a great picture of restoration following intense trial.  Job lost everything.  His wealth and health were gone, and his children were dead.  Yet, he continued to believe and trust God.  By the end of the story, we see God’s restoration at work.  His health and wealth have been regained and he once again has children by his side.  A happy ever after story, right?  Yes and no.  You see, there were still graves of his older children.  I’m sure there where days where, even though surrounded by his younger children and all the wonderful provisions God had restored, he wondered what it would be like if all of his children were still alive. 

I think you could compare it to restoring an older home.  Picture a family in 1920 moving into their new home.  It is amazing.  Everything is up-to-date.  It will meet their needs so well.  Now, picture a family in 2015 who are moving into that same house.  Nothing has been done to it 95 years but this
new family has a plan.  They want to restore the home.  If they restored it too exactly as it was when it was finished in 1920, it still would not meet the needs of a 2015 family.  I think most of us appreciate electricity, indoor plumbing, dishwashers, laundry facilities…you get the idea.  Restoring this 1920 home to its original condition would be missing a few necessities we take for granted in modern homes.  Restoration to 2015 would include some changes.  Frankly, I think most of us would agree these changes are improvements!

God’s restoration of the years destroyed by the locusts are much the same.  Like Job’s experience, it may look similar but it may be very different.  Maybe, like me, you are grieving the loss of a spouse.  It is easy to think that if God is going to restore these years of illness and sorrow, it will come with a new spouse and things will get back to normal.  Or maybe you are in the midst of financial difficulties due to a lost job and assume as soon as you find that perfect, new job all will be back to normal.  Although the restoration may look very similar to the previous years, it will be much different.  I know I am not the same person I was prior to my husband’s cancer diagnosis and death.  Like the restoration of the old home, how God chooses to meet my future restoration will most likely be very different than what my past looked like.  I do not know what the years ahead will be but I do know God has a plan for my life that will make it perfect for that time – not perfect for the past because but perfect for now.  Those years of illness and grief will be rebuilt with new hope and new promise as He continues to work in my life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Good-bye 8 - Hello 9

Tomorrow we say good-bye to an eight year old and hello to a 9 year old.  This will be the third birthday we have celebrated together.  The first one was only weeks after we became a family.  Last year was everything a kids birthday should be complete with friends and lots of excitement.  Tomorrow will be a family celebration and on the weekend a celebration with aunts, uncles and grandmas. 

I can’t believe we are at this point again.  How did another year slip into the history books?  How did shirts get too small, pants get too short and a little girl start to transform into a “big” girl?  It just goes so quickly. 

Year 8 has been filed with milestones:

  • Completion of first grade
  • Start of second grade
  • Road trips to Branson, MO and the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • No more training wheels on her bike
  • Said good-bye to her goods friends when they moved to Florida
  • Got a US passport
  • Received Outstanding Student in Math and Handwriting at the end of first grade
  • First Brewer’s baseball game
  • Experienced the loss of a very loved pet – RIP Abby
  • Made many new friends at our new church
  • Learned to ice skate

It has been a busy year.  I can’t believe how quickly time passes. 

As we say good-bye to 8 and hello to 9 my prayer is that God will continue to grow her into a godly young women that will serve Him faithful and that as her parents, we will faithfully teach and model what being a Christ-follower is on a day-to-day basis.      

Friday, October 18, 2013

Long overdue update

I haven’t stopped by here for awhile to update Brooklyn’s blog.  Mostly because she is just a normal second grader, enjoying normal second grade stuff. 
Brooklyn’s teacher designates one week of the year for each student to be the “Star Student” for the week.  They bring in pictures, choose a special treat for Friday, are teacher’s helper all week, line leader… you get the idea.  This was Brooklyn’s week.  She was so excited about it.  At the end of the day today, I am brining in her favorite dog, Willow, for her to show her class.  She was trying to keep it a secret.  Not sure if she has. 
She also had a field trip this week.  The kids spent the day at Busy Barns Farm.  They had a great time.  There is so much to do there.  Animals to hold, corn mazes, slides, pumpkin patch…  She was exhausted when she got home and absolutely filthy but she had a great time.
Brooklyn and her best friend on their field trip.
Next week she gets glasses.  She has been having headaches and told the teacher when she moved to the front of class, “Oh good, I can see the board.”  So, we headed off to the eye doctor.  Her eyes aren’t terrible but enough that glasses are needed.  She is super excited about it.  She told us in the car after we had ordered her glasses that now we were all alike because we all wear glasses. 

We also started orthodontics.  We are trying to make a bit more space in her mouth for teeth.  She has a small mouth with large teeth.  This should help some but she will most likely need more work as she gets older. 
So, as you can see, a very typical second grader.  She loves school and is doing well.  I continue to be amazed at her heart for God and her hunger for the Word of God.  She loves Bible stories and will always ask for us to read them to her.  We are so blessed to be her parents. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Long Overdue Update

Life gets in the way of updates sometimes.  Here is a recent picture.

Brooklyn finished school and has been spending the summer at home with Dennis.  One of her big accomplishements this summer is learning to swim.  She has been enjoying swimming lessons and loves to go to the pool.

We have not been traveling this summer as Dennis has weekly blood tests but we hope to get a vacation in before summer is over.  We have been enjoying some summer activities in our area including fireworks and county fairs. 

We continue to marvel at the amazing gift God gave us in this incredible little girl.