Monday, June 8, 2009

Growing By Four Feet

In our search to become closer to our wonderful Heavenly Father we have been asking that He take away all preconceived notions of what our life will look like. We have been asking “Lord, what would you have me do?”. Often what God leads us to, we do not expect. Often it is something most will not understand. Most importantly it is a blessing and we are privileged to follow Him.

God answered us with “I have a child for you”…silence for months….”Your child is in Ethiopia” …silence again….We prayed, ”Take away our preconceived notions Lord.”…He did….”It is not just one, but two….twins.”

We know some will think we’re “crazy”, but then again we don’t find sanity too appealing. We know some will worry since we struggled with every virus under the sun this last year. This may or may not change, but we are doing God’s will anyway and doing what we can to boost immune systems and be in better health. We know some may be concerned, please know we are trusting God and that it was a little daunting initially for us as well, but we will step out in faith. We have five beautiful children that we treasure, spend time with, and enjoy…they have asked us for siblings for so long, but we have always answered, “That’s up to God.” (not wanting to ever limit what He wants from us). They are now celebrating. We are not perfect parents…very far from it, but God didn’t ask us to obtain perfection first…He asked us to follow Him.

We understand worry and welcome questions, but we follow God…not man. The perspective we all come from is unique and different…we don’t all have to understand.

We think of the word “perspective” like this. God is in the center of the circle. Christ surrounding Him (we go through Christ to Him) and there is a huge circle on the outside on which we all stand. Some may stand close together seeing God very similarly…similar purposes and views. Some may stand feet or miles from you. We all see different purposes that God has for us. We may not understand each other’s purpose since we stand at a different points in the circle or we may COMPLETELY get it since we stand so close. This is what’s so cool about the body of Christ…His church. We all have different functions and are different. We all have different purposes and different abilities. So please understand, we welcome questions or “YEA’s!”, but we WILL do what God wants us to.

Thank you for praying with us as we begin to bring our new children home!

Please Pray…
For these little ones God has chosen to place in our family…for their physical and emotional health in a difficult place.
For their biological family…that God has His hand on them and brings them peace in whatever they must face.
That God has His hand on this adoption, guiding us, bringing peace, and financially providing.
Last, though it may seem a bit premature, please specifically pray that once we are referred our little ones, that they come home quickly and pass court the first time (many are starting to have multiple court dates and a LONG wait until travel). The Ethiopian government is being very cautious and caring with their wonderful children though and for that we are so thankful.


Below are our answers to many questions that we have received or know
that we will receive. This is an effort to answer any questions that you may have.

May God bless you as He continues to bless us!


____________________________

Why Ethiopia?
Our children are in Ethiopia. It wasn’t a conscious decision. God let us know our children were there. Once God shared with us that we were to adopt again, we thought that maybe it would be domestic adoption this time. Are we in love with Ethiopia? Yes. The country is amazing and beautiful. The people were wonderful and kind. The culture…wow…we have never experienced something so refreshing. We are in love with Ethiopia, but we didn’t choose where our children were from…though we are very thankful that we get to be blessed to travel to this amazing country again!

Is it the same orphanage as last time?
No, Bekah was at a very small orphanage. It had between 24-30 children at capacity. This orphanage (one group of buildings) is called Toukoul. It has 300-400 children, about fifty of those babies. There is much illness, though the staff we have been told, is wonderful. The two following video’s are links showing Toukoul.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiuyAesrflI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAeIqGZQcqs

Why a baby? Why not an older child?
Thomas and I really thought about adopting an older child. We prayed about it and left it up to God. We know older children can be harder to place. We love the older kids an are very drawn to them. An older child is just not what God had planned for our family. Our children are infants…they just are and this is a knowledge that God just gave us. We have committed to give God all the decisions in this adoption. His love for all children is very apparent. One in Ten children in Ethiopia die by the age of one. A family from our agency lost a child they had been referred. The child died from complications of Chicken Pox. All children need homes, ours just happen to be little ones.


You guys have had a year with colds and such, how can you handle illness with two more little ones?
Just as with anything, we go with the flow. It’s not that we have not thought it out, we have….we just cannot predict the future. Just as we can’t even predict the health of our new little ones. We are working to make sure the kids don’t eat off of each others plates or drink each others drinks (good luck! lol) and Thomas and I are focusing heavily and long term on our health Yes, I get tired and need a vacation occasionally, but it seems not more than many moms with two beautiful blessings from God.

Our Ages…
Yes, we are 37 years old and Thomas at least will be 38 before the twins get here (I take that opportunity to just rub in his age a little bit). Many of our friends are our age with young children or little ones. Many are older than us with babies. Remember, we started young (22). People assume we are older since we have a teen (not that we look older than 25……yes, we are joking). No matter the age though…every child is a blessing…we don’t see “too old” as an issue for creating a family.

Details About the Kids and What They Think

Our kids are now 14, 12, 8, 6, and 3. That will be about the age difference between the babies and the kids. Yes, we know that we will have a teenager for the next 18 or so years…actually, a lot longer now ….

Our kids have begged us since we brought Bekah home for another sibling. They have begged us to adopt again and have a biological child. That has been the raging debate between the children for awhile now. We have told them that everything is up to God and He (and only He) tells us where our children are and if there are anymore children that belong in our family.

The kids are ecstatic! They already know the reality of a big family and they want a bigger one. Please understand that our children feel loved, cherished, spend time talking individually with us, laugh, receive discipline and are good kids (that make mistakes of course). It just takes a little more creativity…and for those that knew us growing up, I think that’s way God made is a little “off” . Every single child in our family has asked/begged for another sibling. Ok, truthfully Bekah says she wants Sarah to be her baby sister .

We are not perfect parents…FAR FAR from it. We’ve made mistakes and probably will again. Having a bigger family does create more juggling and YES there are occasionally dropped balls. Who of us hasn’t dropped a ball occasionally though? We will always have a ton to learn.

How many of you can say they look at their five wonderful children and think, “Are we missing someone?
Funny? Yep.
Crazy? Some may say yes.
When our kids walk into a room we subconsciously count….I think most parents do. Our kids would be kicking back with us in the living room and we’d look at them and say, “Why doesn’t it feel like we have five in here? Are we missing someone? Though we didn’t know it at the time, God was preparing our hearts.


You are home schooling four next year, how can you home school and bring two more babies into that mix?

Will everyone laugh at me or yell at me if I shrug my shoulders and say “Who knows?”. Home school mom’s won’t . Yes, I have thought about it and have some great ideas, but until I know these little ones, I won’t know which ideas will work. It takes us about six weeks to get into the groove of home school each year. We tweak the schedule about 2-3 times AT LEAST and that’s each semester….that’s not including play dates and field trip days….so much of home school you just have to see what works with the kids. I will tell you that we are starting (or plan to) home school in mid July this year. When the babies come we plan on taking off a month to just start adjusting. In other words, we are planning…God may have other ideas .


Isn’t five children enough and aren’t you doing your other children a disservice by splitting your attention even more? What about your marriage?

Our children are happy and loved. They know they are cherished. Many days at least one child will come up to Thomas or I and say “I need T-time”. This is the name that the kids came up with to say they need to talk to us privately. We (as we said before) get very creative. We are also very family oriented and do much as a family (maybe to our teen’s chagrin…we tend to like embarrassing him). We all root together for our kids sports (of which they are only allowed to play one a year). If the games conflict then we split one parent and a couple of siblings to each game. Surprisingly this has happened (I believe) only one time so far. Our kids are active at Church and Tom and Sarah do A LOT of Youth Group activities. The older they get, the more they’re allowed to do. We have snuggle time with the kids, reading time, play time….We may be coming up on seven children…but everyone of them will be treasured as gifts from God (just as He meant them to be). Please know that you don’t have to agree with us….but know us and trust us to follow God’s will.

My father in law once said “Thomas and Kat talk about everything….even things that most normal couples don’t”. We are blessed to be married to our best friend. We are more in love now than we were the day we are married, which we didn’t think was possible. We take advantage of some of the kids activities and go on dates (mom has been awesome with babysitting and Tom is taking the Red Cross Babysitting class this summer).

Where are you going to put them, you only have a four bedroom house? What about your vehicle?

Many of you that know us know that for the first year after an adoption our children share a room with us. Yes, this gets tricky for Thomas and I, but we’re creative ;). Our oldest currently has his own room with two beds (as does Max). The three girls (by request) share a large room with bunk beds that have curtains so each child can have privacy. We have asked the girls (especially our oldest) if they want their own room. The answer is a resounding “NO!”. When the babies get old enough they will move into any of the three rooms (with an extra bed being in each by that time). Rooms can change and probably will, but that’s it for now.

As for our SUV…we have a Suburban that seats 8. For the first probably 4-8 weeks we will have to take two cars most places. After about 8 weeks we should be able to buy a 15 seater used Chevy Van. I don’t think we will have to worry about space at that point.

Aren’t you worried about the economy and affording life, let alone the adoption?
We believe a blog written earlier this year shows the necessity of not letting the economy stop an adoption.
In the current economic climate, I’ve heard many stories of struggling American families facing layoffs. There were 650,000 foreclosures in the first quarter of 2007, effecting one out of 194 households. Many retirees lost the bulk of their investments. Government bailouts….a quick fix for a long term problem, but not a solution.
The U.S. economic situation hurts more than just Americans though. Children wait in orphanages worldwide, for mommies to forgive them for writing on the refrigerator, for daddies to flip them, giggling, upside down. They wait for love. Some orphanages are wonderful. Unfortunately, there are also children residing orphanages who lack the basic necessities… touch, food, and care….rocking themselves for comfort. They may be so malnourished it has stunted the growth of their heads. Malnourishment starts with weight, then height, then finally head circumference. We have seen it in our own precious children.

Many Americans are financially hurting. Starting an adoption that may cost $20,000 may be too daunting. Children wait while we juggle finances and question the future.

Not everyone is called to adopt. That’s a decision led by God. This is to say, there are children that can’t understand the concept of “three meals” a day or “snuggle time”. This is to say, we as Christians need to question what we are doing. Are we even praying? Have we ever said to God, “It doesn’t matter what I think I can handle, what do you want me to do?”.

This economy is hurting the agencies. We know of a wonderful agency struggling financially. Their humanitarian aid suffers too.

If agencies fail because of the lack of adopting families, the circle begins… children need families, agencies facilitate, families feel they can’t adopt in this climate , agencies suffer, children don’t find families, agencies falter, agency’s humanitarian aid disappears, families don’t get the aid they need, more orphans made, children need families, agencies facilitate….do you see the circle?

We need to be praying…praying for these children, praying for families to open their hearts that may not have previously, praying for the agencies.

God may not put it on your heart to adopt. You may be an AMAZING prayer warrior ...but please consider this…talking to God and saying,
“It doesn’t matter what I think I can handle, what do you want me to do?”

May God put His Hand on you all as you journey through life glorifying Him.



Why now, why can’t you wait until a couple of the children you have now are older?

We can answer this in two parts. First and foremost is because now is when God directed us to. We obey God, not man. Second we DO have a bunch of logical reasons. Many agencies require that there not be more than 40 years between parents and child. Since we are now 37, that gives us a limited time (knowing the unpredictability of the length of an adoption process). Tom is also going to be 15 at the end of this year and we want him to have the chance to know his siblings before he’s off to college. Finally, we end this with a question. “Why not now?”

Why more than one, isn’t one baby enough to handle?

That’s easy, because God told us we had two. Wow…that was the easiest question yet!

Can you honestly say God called you and that this is not just your caring for the children of the world OR just a love for the adoption process?

I can say that after God and our family, love and care for orphans is our passion. We ache for them. We hurt for them. They are not all in our immediate family though. They will not all join our physical family (though we hope our Spiritual). God tells us where (and when) our children are…when instead of where with our biological. We just bring them home. We don’t create a fantasy in a pile of dirty dishes or changing a smelly diaper. We don’t romanticize the reality that parenting can be hard. What we do is realize that God will show us if and when we have another child and He did. We had preconceived notions of our family size…now we don’t.

The adoption process…there is no way to romanticize that for us. We GET to gather a ton and a half of paperwork. You count on glitches…at least one paper will have to be redone at least 3 times. You get fingerprinted, which may or may not be good enough the first time AND then you wait (sometimes a long time…though not typically for us) for your approval by the U.S. government to adopt. You invite a social worker into your house (though our Social Worker is awesome) to evaluate your family. You know you’ll be fine, but go nuts before it anyway. You send your paperwork to the country and hope, after all that work, that they will choose you to parent their children. This process in necessary and good to keep the children safe….but not easy. Then you (knowing your child already has his or her footprint in your heart) WAIT…and WAIT…and WAIT. You finally receive a referral and see your beautiful child…and WAIT again for court and your embassy date. You hope that you pass court the first time.

We will admit that we LOVE the travel. We DO love seeing my children for the first time. The process though we would gladly choose to forgo and just have our babies home in our arms. We would love to be able to snap our fingers and there be no process for us this time, but God has taught us patience through these processes….we don’t learn patience easily . So to say we are in love with the process…not so much. Are we in love with our babies? Absolutely!

2 comments:

  1. Kat,

    Just followed your link over at CAFEKids. Thanks for sharing. AND for taking the time to honestly answer all of these questions. Well done. As homeschooling mom who has children thru both an adoption, I can relate on so many levels.

    Looking forward to reading more. :-)

    Sweet blessings,
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautifully written. You answered so well the questions that I'm sure many adopting families face. We have! Congratulations on your twins and enjoy your beautiful family.

    ReplyDelete

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