Friday, July 28, 2017

What Can We Do?

Many of you have walked with us through adoptive journeys before.  You know we circle our wagons once coming home.  Though I have several posts to write in order for you to hear the complete story, my heart is tired right now.

There IS joy.  I look at our precious girls and am so thankful.  God is good.  THAT does NOT change.

Not only is it the end of three weeks with our precious girls in country (who are learning what love and family are, not sleeping, and full of life and spunk), but we are also heart heavy at the loss of Jack and the pain his family faces.

There is overwhelming celebration and overwhelming sadness all mixed together.  One does not diminish the other...it just is.

We come home this Sunday. (WOO HOO!!! WE ARE ALMOST THERE!!!)

Several have asked what they can do as we work on finding our new normal and "circle" our wagons.  They've also asked what our needs are.

We have learned (in thankfulness) what our village means to our family in these times.  I have become very truthful when people ask.

Here are a few things that people have done in the past (through our jet lag and finding our new normal).  These things have helped, and I'm posting here to answer those who have asked what they can do.

People have....
*Brought meals
*Taken our kids where they need to go as we wade through appointments
*Brought groceries or just basic provisions (toilet paper, paper towels, something for the other kids)
*Brought their teens over to help babysit as we have waded through medical things
*Called or texted and saying, "Hey, we are at _______, is there anything we can pick up?"
*A close friend showed up and helped clean
*MOST IMPORTANTLY people continued to pray.  This journey is still in the beginning stages.  Our girls don't know what family is as of yet.  We are still caretakers in their thoughts.  I will explain more below.

It's not just our family either.  This hasn't been a vacation for my travel buddy Amy.  I think sometimes people forget that.  She has had the disrupted sleep and juggling two toddlers as well. She has kept me afloat and done the not fun chores (while I tended to our new daughters). Her family has had to try to figure out how to get things done that need to as well.  SHE will be exhausted...physically and emotionally (ask those who have traveled with us in the past and then multiply it by two...smile).  There is a lot to process.  I'm taking liberties here.  I'm not sharing this with her until after it's published.  Some of the above would truly bless her family as well.

Again, I'm sharing this for people who have asked.  I haven't had time to sit down and write people individually.  Right now the girls finally conked out for a much needed nap.  This is the most straight forward way to do it.

For those that have been there for our families....and to our husbands and children (very MUCH including adult children)...thank you!  Thank you for the prayers and standing up for us and with us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those that don't know, attachment is a long road.  It's not instant.  We are still working on attachment with Timothy...and aspects of it with other children.

Imagine your spouse (or parent) packs your bag, puts it by the front door and the next day some strangers show up.  They don't speak your language, look nothing like you, and smell nothing like you.  You are told they are your new family and packed off to see no one you knew again.  How long would it take you to attach to them and come to grips with the fact they are permanent? It's something to think about.

 Add to that (for Grace and Hope) the lack of being in a family.  It would be like someone handing you an apple, but you had never heard of fruit ever.  You would have no concept of what it is, what it does, or that it's food.  They have NO concept of what a mother and father are.  It's a journey.  The experts say it can often take twice the amount of time OUT of the orphanage to fully attach that they spent in it.

Thomas and I will be the only ones to feed, diaper, bathe, dress, and care for Grace and Hope (though the kids will love on and play with them of course).  For awhile, depending on the girls, only we will hold them for a bit (AFTER the airport).  We HAVE to do everything we possibly can for them to see us as different than everyone else.  It is NOT an easy road.  Their friendliness and wanting someone other than us to hold them is NOT a sign of attachment (and felt safety).  It's exactly the opposite.  We have studied attachment (with professionals) for years.  This is absolute truth.   We need to see some stranger fear.  THAT is a good sign.  It shows they view us as different.  Right now everyone is a possible caretaker in their minds.

Please know that we WANT you to be able to hold and love on them...OH YES.  You are their village!  It just takes a bit of time.

After the airport welcome things really begin!  (Please PM me or email if you'd like to know when that is!)

For two to four weeks (most likely) we will ONLY go to doctor's appointments for the girls.  Part of this is protection as well.  Hope has heart issues and we need to find out EXACTLY what they are and how their immune systems are functioning.  Things, such as illness, can create a higher level of danger for Hope.

Well, I'm seriously struggling to keep my eyes open (at only 3 pm our time).   Please keep praying for our families and for Amy, John, and the boys (Nick and Sam)...and all those friends and families that are mourning.  I've placed prayer requests below.  Thank you friends!!!!

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

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We have one physical need we didn't plan on at this point.  Hope and Grace's heights are very different than each other.  Hope is a TON taller than she even looks (though in 18 months clothes comfortably).  Grace is TINY in 6-9 month clothes (for perspective, that's around where my five and eight month old granddaughter are at).  The carrier that was purchased for us we cannot place value on.  At first, it was the only place Hope could fall asleep.  She is LONG though and is almost out of this size carrier.  Grace is tiny and this size is perfect.  She couldn't fit in a bigger one (we don't believe).  We need a second carrier.  We have three children that are not mobile at this point.  We need the same carrier in a larger size (the smaller one WILL be used constantly for Grace).  We WILL figure it out, but I'm putting this out there as much is before us.  I feel a little odd sharing all this with how much we have been blessed with.
https://mykinderpack.com/collections/toddler-size/products/summit-koolnit-mesh-toddler-kinderpack-child-carrier?variant=32640246925
(toddler size with plus size straps)

THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU THAT HAVE PRAYED US THIS FAR!!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please pray friends...

Immanent:
*THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED THROUGH OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS.
*Please pray for John and Amy, Jack's parents.  Please also pray for Nick and Sam (his brothers).  This is beyond painful.  They are broken and shattered.
*Please pray Grace and Hope sleep well on the plane (and we are able to as well).  Please pray this 15 hour flight goes quickly and the girls have no issues.  PLEASE PRAY THERE ARE NO TRAVEL ISSUES OR WITH OUR HOTEL.
PLEASE PRAY GRACE AND HOPE SLEEP CONSISTENTLY with NO FEAR.  We REALLY need sleep!
*For Hope to learn to suck/drink quickly.
*For my eyes, they started itching and when that went away they started feeling swollen (and 
*That Hope's heart condition shows NO issues. 
*For Hope~Glory and Grace~Victory: Their lives have been rocked.  
*Please pray there is no lost luggage or issues with luggage (and IF possible, my one missing piece of clothing is found.  The laundry may have lost it and I brought very little in the way of MY clothes).
*  Please also pray there are NO health issues period during our trip...NONE AND WE GET SOME SLEEP.
*Please pray for our kids and families hearts (ours too) and safety (we all come back together safely).  This is the hard part, leaving them.  Peace that passes understanding is a good thing.
*Please pray for Tom, Elizabeth, and Alessandra that they find joy, new friends, and a beautiful rhythm in their new duty station.
*Please pray blessing on Ivan's new job (my son-in-love) and that they find a new normal in this.  It's a gift from God.


PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLLOWING TWELVE PRAYER REQUESTS AS WELL.

1. THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED IN EVERY STEP OF THIS ADOPTION (MOST IMPORTANT TODAY AND EVERY DAY).

2.  I feel a deep need to have everyone join us in prayer for the attachment of our girls.  Please pray they have NO attachment issues and attach to us as a family very quickly.  We pray that GRACE and HOPE have NO issues with attachment...NONE (that God prepares them as well).

3.  We ask for prayers also that Grace and Hope become good sleepers.  Sleep deprivation is kicking us right now.

4. PLEASE pray protection against ALL of satan's schemes.  He's been messing with our family and with Amy and her family.  PLEASE pray a strong concrete, cement, gold, silver (smile) wall between our lives and his schemes.  Please pray for "more than enough" in every aspect of our lives right now, that we may take a breath.

5. Please pray for Thomas and I's anxiety/stress.  Life is keeping us going a million miles an hour and peace that passes understanding would be very very welcome!  (Prayers for physical strength as well for both of us)

6. PLEASE PRAY THERE ARE NO ISSUES IN TRAVEL OR HOTEL.

 7. That God uses us/speaks through us while we are there, see what we need to see and doing what we need to do.

8. For Timothy's complete healing...and that he has walking and running in his future (smile).  That his pain is minimal AND that he doesn't need a LONG trip to Philly like they are talking about in September.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jack

For many years our children went to a small Christian school.

I remember becoming almost instant friends with a beautiful mom named Amy.  She was light and laughter (even if she doesn't think so).  She and John quickly became a regular part of our lives...bouncy houses, birthday parties, play dates, and field trips.  Amy and I had many long nights on the phone.

Our oldest three children were all the same age and in the same grades.

Tom was in class with Nick until 6th grade.
Sarah and Jack remained in the same class through 4th.
Anna and Sam went to Kindergarten together.

We spent a lot of time together and they are memories I treasure, though we drifted apart throughout the years.  Their family still holds a space in my heart that no other can fill.

I sat on the floor of our hotel room this morning...across the world....sobbing.  My heart is broken...shattered.

Jack died tragically yesterday at twenty years old.  I think of Amy, John, Nick, and Sam ......and I can't breathe.

Please pray for their family.  I am so broken for them.  I can't get my mind wrapped around this.

There are no words to make this better.   There are no pat answers.

God is sovereign and that remains.  Our hope remains in Him.

Please continue to hold their family up in your prayers through the days, weeks, and months to come.


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me." Psalm 23:4


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mini Prayer Request- Flights

Next and important prayer request.  On our flight out they have us split up. This will NOT work with the girls.   I'm calling later (and every day if needed) to try to get seats together.  Please pray we are able to get good seats and all together!!! We still have a few days, but would love the peace of it being taken care of!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Coffee Isn't THAT Important (Day 15)

Today, again we had hoped to get to a house Church, but didn't have the contacts.  Admittedly, our days run together and we often have to figure out not only what day it is here, but what day it is for our family as well back in the States.

The time difference is significant.

Little Miss still is not sleeping well, but we have a long queue of things we will now try (thanks to other adoptive families, including some families that live here).

The rain turned on like a faucet today, keeping us in our room much of the time...that is until hunger drove us out to find food.  The walk there wasn't so bad.  It was raining, but not pouring.

It was when we decided we needed coffee afterwards, the lack of sleep settling into our bones, that we were in trouble  (chuckle).

The sky opened up.

We wrapped raincoats around the strollers, but Amy and I....well, even with umbrellas we were dripping.  Our shoes sloshed (don't ask about the socks).

There was laughter, as always, and the coffee...well, wasn't our wisest idea.

THIS is how the night ended.


The hotel loaned us a dehumidifier and that's the only way our hung clothes (and shoes) were able to dry at all.

So now, bed is where we headed.  (Only 2-3 pictures taken the entire day...and ALL of them were thanks to Amy.)


We tour with our guide from our adoption agency tomorrow.

Side note: It's today for us.  Yes, it's complicated when I'm writing the post for yesterday.  Told you it's confusing!

Hope your night is blessed (and dry)....and remember, the coffee isn't THAT important.

"I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit." Leviticus 26:4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please pray friends...

Immanent:
*THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED THROUGH OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS.
PLEASE PRAY GRACE AND HOPE SLEEP CONSISTENTLY with NO FEAR.  We REALLY need sleep!
*For Hope to learn to suck/drink quickly.
*For my eyes, they started itching and when that went away they started feeling swollen (and are a bit bloodshot).  Part of my inner eye on one eye actually looks wrinkled (but doesn't hurt) Please pray for complete healing NOW.
*That Hope's heart condition shows NO issues.
*For Hope and Grace's health.... and my and Amy's health too.  
*For Hope~Glory and Grace~Victory: Their lives have been rocked.  WE know it's a beautiful thing and blessing, but everything is unfamiliar.  We don't look, smell, or sound like her.  (Picture being handed to someone you don't know, have never seen before, and told they are your new family and to go with them.)
*Please pray there are no hiccups, paperwork or otherwise during this entire trip across the world. 
*That Amy and I's bodies are strong and there is no pain and we feel AWAKE and ALERT.   Please also pray there are NO health issues period during our trip...NONE AND WE GET SOME SLEEP.
*Please pray the weather is unseasonably cool in both regions we will be in.  It's not the most important prayer, very possibly the least, but we appreciate it.  Please pray no matter what the weather it doesn't effect us negatively. (When I say "hot", I mean sticky, sweaty, steam bath, sauna, dripping wet, fogged up sunglasses hot.)
*Please pray for our kids and families hearts (ours too) and safety.  This is the hard part, leaving them.  Peace that passes understanding is a good thing.
*Please pray that there is NO lost luggage during any of our trip.  Though we pack a set of clothing in carryons, this is something we hope we don't have to face. (smile).
*Please pray for Tom, Elizabeth, and Alessandra that they find joy, new friends, and a beautiful rhythm in their new duty station.


PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLLOWING TWELVE PRAYER REQUESTS AS WELL.

1. THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED IN EVERY STEP OF THIS ADOPTION (MOST IMPORTANT TODAY AND EVERY DAY).

2.  I feel a deep need to have everyone join us in prayer for the attachment of our girls.  Please pray they have NO attachment issues and attach to us as a family very quickly.  We pray that GRACE and HOPE have NO issues with attachment...NONE (that God prepares them as well).

3.  We ask for prayers also that Grace and Hope are good sleepers.  I know that may sound trivial, but knowing what can happen (we've had it both ways) we know if they can sleep (both in country and at home), transition will go much smoother.

4. PLEASE pray protection against ALL of satan's schemes.  He's been messing with our family and with Amy and her family.  PLEASE pray a strong concrete, cement, gold, silver (smile) wall between our lives and his schemes.

5. Please pray for Thomas and I's anxiety/stress.  Life is keeping us going a million miles an hour and peace that passes understanding would be very very welcome!  (Prayers for physical strength as well for both of us)

6. PLEASE PRAY THERE ARE NO PAPERWORK ISSUES IN COUNTRY AND EVERYTHING GOES FLAWLESSLY.  This is my current worry...pffttt.

7. That my traveling companion (Amy) and I stay well (completely) within country and are safe....not even a nauseous stomach which commonly happens at least once.

 8. That God uses us/speaks through us while we are there, see what we need to see and doing what we need to do.

9. That our families are safe while we are apart and that it is a peaceful (and safe) time for them.

10. For Timothy's complete healing...and that he has walking and running in his future (smile).  That his pain is minimal.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

23-19!!!! (Day 14- TMI Post)

After a day of shopping....

Grace will NOT grab the bowl, but put her hands at her sides, almost
palms facing up.  This is a very much taught orphanage behavior.



These markets are multiple levels high and 
seem never ending.  It seems a bit overwhelming
for those that don't adore shopping (except maybe  leisurely).




We spent a good hour looking for squeaky shoes
for my granddaughters, Grace (Hope has some), and my Grandma 2 grandson 
(Lexi understands :-) ).

This is Anne's son Jack.

These are all pearls!

Our guide Anne and her son


Grace, worn out after all the outdoor shopping.
Things are very very inexpensive here and we want
to get something for each child/grandchild (a little from our tax money we had 
set aside just 
for this).

The day ended with such cuteness...

Well, kinda....

Amy reminded me that we have to be careful what we pray for.

We asked our private prayer group of around twenty to pray the girls could
"go".  Okay, this is too much information, but we needed them to poop (for their own safety).  We were on the
third day of NOTHING...zip...zero.

So we prayed the weirdest prayer EVER (and had others pray it as well).

And the rains came....


I glanced down at one little miss, but didn't want to change her too soon.

Amy and I both wished (through laughter) that I had made another decision.

If you get grossed out you MAY want to stop reading now.

There sat one of the itty bits surrounded by pasty piles of 
green sludge.  She found it fascinating and was playing in it, with the
enthusiasm that children play in mud.

I think all Amy heard was a yelp and "23-19!!!! 23-19!!!" (23-19 has become our family phrase for "all hands on deck" courtesy of "Monster's Inc.".)

Little one then reached over and firmly planted their sludge covered little fingers on
my wrist.  I couldn't even get the little poop covered Poppin' to the
bathtub.  Amy grabbed a trash bag and I laid her on top of it. 
We PEELED her clothes off of her and Amy went to rinse said clothes.  
Burning would have been more appropriate for these articles of clothing.

From top to bottom, little one was scrubbed.  Little Miss number two thought
it's be a great idea to roll across the floor where the sludge remained.  Screams and grabbing little feetsies from impending doom (what we will call poop) ensued.

We are survivors though and overcame.

The End

No, not really.  We DID survive to see another day though.

Grace STILL is not sleeping and we've tried what we can from this end 
of the ocean.  Getting only a few hours of sleep is dissipating my filter, thus this blog (bwhahahaha).

We appreciate prayers for Grace to sleep...PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.  :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please pray friends...

Immanent:
*THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED THROUGH OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS.
PLEASE PRAY GRACE AND HOPE SLEEP with NO FEAR.  We REALLY need sleep!
*For Hope to learn to suck/drink quickly.
*For my eyes, they started itching and when that went away they started feeling swollen (and are a bit bloodshot).  Part of my inner eye on one eye actually looks wrinkled (but doesn't hurt) Please pray for complete healing NOW.
*That Hope's heart condition shows NO issues.
*For Hope and Grace's health.... and my and Amy's health too.  
*For Hope~Glory and Grace~Victory: Their lives have been rocked.  WE know it's a beautiful thing and blessing, but everything is unfamiliar.  We don't look, smell, or sound like her.  (Picture being handed to someone you don't know, have never seen before, and told they are your new family and to go with them.)
*Please pray there are no hiccups, paperwork or otherwise during this entire trip across the world. 
*That Amy and I's bodies are strong and there is no pain and we feel AWAKE and ALERT.   Please also pray there are NO health issues period during our trip...NONE AND WE GET SOME SLEEP.
*Please pray the weather is unseasonably cool in both regions we will be in.  It's not the most important prayer, very possibly the least, but we appreciate it.  Please pray no matter what the weather it doesn't effect us negatively. (When I say "hot", I mean sticky, sweaty, steam bath, sauna, dripping wet, fogged up sunglasses hot.)
*Please pray for our kids and families hearts (ours too) and safety.  This is the hard part, leaving them.  Peace that passes understanding is a good thing.
*Please pray that there is NO lost luggage during any of our trip.  Though we pack a set of clothing in carryons, this is something we hope we don't have to face. (smile).
*Please pray for Tom, Elizabeth, and Alessandra that they find joy, new friends, and a beautiful rhythm in their new duty station.


PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLLOWING TWELVE PRAYER REQUESTS AS WELL.

1. THAT GOD IS GLORIFIED IN EVERY STEP OF THIS ADOPTION (MOST IMPORTANT TODAY AND EVERY DAY).

2.  I feel a deep need to have everyone join us in prayer for the attachment of our girls.  Please pray they have NO attachment issues and attach to us as a family very quickly.  We pray that GRACE and HOPE have NO issues with attachment...NONE (that God prepares them as well).

3.  We ask for prayers also that Grace and Hope are good sleepers.  I know that may sound trivial, but knowing what can happen (we've had it both ways) we know if they can sleep (both in country and at home), transition will go much smoother.

4. PLEASE pray protection against ALL of satan's schemes.  He's been messing with our family and with Amy and her family.  PLEASE pray a strong concrete, cement, gold, silver (smile) wall between our lives and his schemes.

5. Please pray for Thomas and I's anxiety/stress.  Life is keeping us going a million miles an hour and peace that passes understanding would be very very welcome!  (Prayers for physical strength as well for both of us)

6. PLEASE PRAY THERE ARE NO PAPERWORK ISSUES IN COUNTRY AND EVERYTHING GOES FLAWLESSLY.  This is my current worry...pffttt.

7. That my traveling companion (Amy) and I stay well (completely) within country and are safe....not even a nauseous stomach which commonly happens at least once.

 8. That God uses us/speaks through us while we are there, see what we need to see and doing what we need to do.

9. That our families are safe while we are apart and that it is a peaceful (and safe) time for them.

10. For Timothy's complete healing...and that he has walking and running in his future (smile).  That his pain is minimal.

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