Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Small miracle? Maybe....

After being completely fed up with the lack of progress I had texted my lawyer last night that he needed to work on my case or I was gettin' out of Dodge. Not exactly that way, but I think he got the point. Suddenly he had meetings set up from here to Tuesday. Today I met with him and our social worker, took them cinnamon rolls so they were all smiling when I told them that I really really need some things to start happening. So here's the latest:
  • Should have the missing paperwork tomorrow
  • Lawyer will have a conversation with the big wigs about Keira's case and have them come to a decision about wheather she is likely to actually come home or not. Would be better to know sooner rather than later.
  • He will hopefully be able to submit our papers on Monday morning and he really believes that we can get squeezed into court before Elizabeth goes on leave Wednesday afternoon.
  • I'm skeptical, but praising God for some progress. Please pray that things would go smoothly for once!
  • I had lunch and pedicures with great friends and felt very refreshed and ready to tackle what's ahead!

That's my small and happy update for now. Praying for more good news soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prayers, tears, giggles, and Lorax

Here's an adoption update and with it ways that you can pray for us specifically:

1. I found out yesterday that there was a paper that should have been filed for Evolet way back when in order to adopt. It just got filed yesterday and unless we can get them to speed up it won't be ready until "Friday" so...probably not till next week.

2. My social worker is going on vacation for a month starting next week.

3. Keira's paperwork is still not complete and unless we can change social welfare's position on it then we are kind of at a stalemate as there's no real way to obtain the rest of the paperwork which would mean that we could not complete Keira's adoption. Would have been nice to know that before the committal was given to me.

4. Our attorney is back in town after leaving for a few weeks. Our prayer is that based on his relationship with some of these people that he can help smooth our path to court. This is definately not a guarantee, but we are praying for it.

5. Was told by the embassy that my fingerprints were clear and good to go. Now there is a hangup between the office here and in the states. They haven't recieved my prints in the US and they expire in 5 days.

6. Random things keep going wrong--yesterday not one of the 3 toilets in the house was working for one reason or another, my water goes out at some point every single day (normally during bathtime for the kids)things keep breaking and it just compounds the frustrations of living here.

This has definately been the hardest week for me. Things are uncertain and I feel more alone than I ever have. It's forced me to cling to Christ more than I ever have and to trust what he says above what I feel. I keep wondering when God is going to show me what he's doing. Do I have a right to know that? I guess not, but it would be nice to understand a little bit. I'm ready for things to stop getting worse and to start getting better. Please pray with me that this week would bring some changes and that things would start to turn around.

How cute are they?
Took Evolet to see the Lorax in 3D yesterday. We spent the day together and had popcorn and forzen yogurt at the theater. It was a really fun day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Proverbs 32 man

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine"
-Song of Solomon 6:3

First of all...who doesn't love Song of Solomon? I mean talk about some serious sap! I was looking for the above passage and came across stuff like "My beloved is radiant and ruddy" and "I am sick with love" and "Your belly is a heap of wheat." I'm issuing an equally appropriate sap warning for what I'm about to say.

We wives cherish the Proverbs 31 passage and hold that up as our example to strive for. It gives us a good picture of what women were meant to be and we LOVE to have our husbands quote things from it about us, and look forward to the day our children "rise up and call us 'blessed". That actually happens, right?

Well, today is my anniversary. I have been blessed with 6 wonderful years of marriage to Darren. There's no nice perfect list of the ideal husband so I made one myself...because I've already found him. Here's the disclaimer...this is not really from the Bible and there is no Proverbs 32. Just makin' sure you all know that.

He's excellent and worth more than all the jewels his money could buy for me.
He's trustworthy and honest.
He works hard to provide for his family and doesn't complain about it.
He's wise with his investments and plans for the future.
He is wicked attractive:)
He's gentle and cares for the weak and the poor. He's generous.
His children find shelter in him.
He has a great sense of humor and doesn't take himself or this life too seriously.
He enjoys life.
He is confident.
He has a heart that is quick to forgive.
He offers wise advice without arrogance.
He cherishes the Word of God.
He dies to himself every day to love his wife and family.

No man except Jesus could live up to this all the time and that is not my expectation, but I can easily say that these are the things that define my husband and for him to not be these things is so rare that it stands out when it happens. I am one lucky woman! I can't be with Darren today and I'm pretty upset about that to be honest, but I can be thankful that this is the kind of man I have the honor to miss so much right now and that THAT is what I get to go home to:)

Happy Anniversary, Darren!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

i want to go home...

That's pretty much the only way to describe things lately. If I could rub some shoes together or fall asleep and wake up in my own bed I think I would do it.

Here are some photos of some good times we had on Monday at this place called Kilimanjaros. It is this outdoor restaurant with lots of things for the kids to do. They had a blast and I had fun talking to some adults:)

This is us playing with cloud dough at home. 8 cups of flour mixed with 1 cup of baby oil=fun for a week! They loved playing with this and pretending they were baking!
This is the sand pit at kilimanjaros
Josie's first pony ride! Evolet and Keira were scared of this little horse so I didn't want to post the "Mommy, save me from the pony!" faces. They might be ashamed of those one day...
Josie on the other hand was meant to be a cowgirl!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Three Months Ago--more or less

On December 13, 2011 I brought a girl named Hope Kalakule to our "home" in Zambia to be our daughter. Her name is not legally changed yet but will eventually be Evolet Hope. The past three months have been full of ups and downs and many times have seemed to pass so slowly.

Today Evolet's mandatory 3 month fostering period is complete. We can't go to court until at least next week, but we've got to be here until May for Keira anyway so it's really not that big of a deal I guess. I'm still in Zambia and some days I'm not happy about it, but today I remember what it's all about.

It's about one less. One less broken heart. One less orphan. One less little girl with no hope. One less child with no education. One less heart that wonders if someone really loves her and will stick around.

It's about one more. One more child who knows the gospel. One more heart who knows who the "father of the fatherless" is. One more little girl in our family to love and teach and learn from. One more mouth that won't go hungry. One more picture of heaven--one family made up of different colors, different languages, but one bloodline through adoption sitting at the table of God himself!!!

This is the heart of our desire to adopt. At times it has been tainted with the details and frustrations and my own unwillingness to keep fighting. At times I have questioned and considered that maybe we are actually crazy. At times I have completely forgotten the big picture and lost my perspective. But when I step back and think about where my sweet 4 1/2 year old was 3 months ago I literally want to cry over the progress I've seen.

  • Three months ago this child could only ever really point out the color green...and sometimes that was wrong. She had no clue about the rest. After a month of constant teaching she got it. I wish I could have captured that smile when she conquered her colors! That opened the floodgates of learning for her.
  • She knew the alphabet song, but could not recognize letters and did not know any of their sounds. As of today she has learned the phonetic sound and how to write the letters B,C,D,E,F,H,J,L,P,and T. There really is a method to my madness in not starting with A. Her favorite thing is to go on the Starfall website and learn phonics. This kid is a learning machine now! She can also count up to about 20 and write 1,2, and 3. (I've focused a little more on letters if you can't tell. I preferred English over Math:p)
  • She stopped peeing on the back step and learned to use the toilet...every time. This I was NOT expecting to have to teach, but we did it:)
  • She got to experience Christmas with her new family (minus dad. Sad) but even the other day she was saying that she remembered Christmas and the little tree we put up and she said she loved getting to open her barbie. I couldn't believe she remembered that1
  • She knows 9 of her chatechism questions (don't be scared by that word. It's a set of questions like "who made you?" with answers "God made me"...an easy way to teach kids Biblical truths in a logical format)
  • She's started asking questions about the Bible! Examples: After reading about Christ's death on the cross she asked "God died? Can you read the next story tonight too?" She was so eager to hear! I've also gotten questions like "What color is God?" and "Did God make your computer?"She's practically memorized all of Psalm 23.
  • She loves to give hugs!
  • She's gained a few pounds off momma's cookin'...vitamins help too.
  • She knows how to spell her name.
  • She's learned to love her sisters. They fight...alot, but they play alot too and she loves them!
  • She still has alot of conquering to do. She has alot of fears, alot of anger, alot of battles in the self-control and honesty department that need to be won. But I've seen an immense amount of positive change and a willingness on her part to learn. And now she has a family to teach her and pray over her and love her. I just can't wait to see what the next three months hold for her. We love you, Evolet!

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home." ~Proverbs 68:5-6

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Devil Reads my Blog

This is why stress baking makes total sense:

My contribution...

Just when I think I'm starting to get a handle on something and *dare* to say it out loud or blog about it, no sooner do the words leave my mouth (or in this case my fingers) than a whole tsunami of new and deeper challenges present themselves! What's the deal? Why is parenting so stinkin' hard and why am I still in Zambia?

There have been little victories throughout this week but mostly I feel defeated.

I know that the Lord is good and that he holds us in the palm of his hand.
I know that I love my children and wouldn't trade them for the world.
I know that they are little people in need of direction and care and not in fact demons bent on destroying the world through their (what feels like) intergalactic warfare!
I know that people around the globe are lifting us up in prayer and that I am not alone.
I know that I'll be home again and will in fact (Lord willing) not grow old, wither, and die haveing never left Lusaka.
I know that while I feel like it many times I am in fact not the worst mother in the world.
I know the end of the story and I know the Lord prevails!

So why do I keep convincing myself that I can't take anymore? Why do I push away what I know and live in what I feel?

Sometimes I wish I could get an emotion-ectomy. I really do prefer rationality. It's just...safer. But alas, feelings are far from evil. They just have to be constantly submitted to the direction of God's Word. I have to do that and now I have 3 little emotional girls that I have to try to teach that to...and no husband/dad around to balance us all out! I'm constantly having to refocus and remember what I KNOW to be true and that the Word of God is refreshment for a confused, unsure, emotional soul. Does it get easier?

This week has been a roller-coaster in parenting. It has left me feeling even more alone and lost and as soon as I think I have detected the problem and dealt with it something else comes up. Praise God for His grace and that his mercies are new every morning. There's never a day so bad that I can't find joy in that!

A friend posted this on facebook and I wanted to share it because I found it so refreshing in the midst of my weary days:

"...despair not, brothers and sisters. God is still on His throne, our redemption draws near, the Spirit continues to minister life to us through the gospel, and the Lamb who was slain continues to stand in the presence of the Father, His work just as pleasing, just as finished, just as complete, just as powerful, as ever before. That is our solace, that is our rock, that is the anchor that goes within the veil. There is no power in heaven or in earth that can shake it or frustrate the sovereign God who spoke the universe into existence. Do not look to yourself, your circumstances, or the present situation around us---lift up your eyes, look to eternity, see past this evil age, and rejoice in the truth of God's perfect will."

-James White

Wow!!! Is that good or what? Makes me wanna say "Bring it on devil! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I may fail...alot, but you don't win! Read it and weep!" Wait...did I just say that out loud? Yes, I did!

Still no word on when we can go to court, but Evolet's fostering period is up in 4 days! Yay! Maybe by then I'll feel like writing a really sweet post about her! :p

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My little snowflakes

I wanted to give a shout out to a very encouraging book I read this week called Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches It was so helpful in just reorienting my heart and mind as a mother of 3 now.

Here are some of the good thoughts I took away from the book.

"It is no abstract thing-the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you."

"God gave me this to do. I may not be overwhelmed about it. I can try as hard as I can, and maybe fail sometimes...but I may not be overwhelmed. Actually, I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say that I am overwhelmed! The words have real power over us. If you say it, you allow it for yourself. You give yourself that little bit of room to say "But I can't!"

"Most of the time the children don't know that what they are doing is overwhelming. This is because they do not forget that they are individuals"

These were just a few of the great thoughts in this book. The hardest thing for me to do right now is to take my thoughts and emotions captive. No sooner do I than they run off again. I know that if I don't keep them in check they run away and cause havoc, but it's just. so. hard. I know alot of the difficulty IS circumstantial, but I also know that it is my responsibility to be true to obedience no matter what the circumstances are. I've been allowing myself alot of "overwhleming-ness" lately. It is easy with three little people and one worn out mom running around with nothing to do except painfully wait to go home. Yesterday, Evolet vomited on the couch, Josie started crying because she fell over something and skinned her knee, Keira burned her hand on the iron, and then Josie got into the mini-fridge and squirted ranch dressing all over the floor and was playing in it and eating it. Yum. Somebody pooped. Somebody fought with a sister. All this happened in the same hour. I wanted to use that word "overwhelmed" and then thought "No. I'll think/deal with each situation individually and we'll get through it." You know...each thing really wasn't that bad. And sure enough we survived another day.

It's also very easy for me to just think about the most practical way to get through the day. I've started to just orgamize them and maybe micro-manage their every move to just streamline how we get through the day. Some of that is a benefit and actually helps...some of it probably makes them feel like I see them as things and not people. Still trying to find that balance and probably about the time I do we will be going home and have to find a new happy medium that works for us. So...as I'm struggling to teach their little hearts, God is teaching mine as well.

This isn't from the book, but as I was reading it I started thinking about snowflakes. Each snowflake has certain silmilarities to every other snowflake, but God made each one really unique and different. Profound--I know. Each of my kids is so very different. They each handle situations differently and they have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The stupid me of 4 months ago really thought that parenting 3 would just mean like Josie tripled. It is so much more complex than that! Beautiful in a way I never imagined, but oh so not simple. I still feel like I'm getting to know my kids. Their likes, dislikes, emotions, strengths, and weaknessess. It's impossible to treat them all exactly the same and yet isn't that what you're supposed to do? Some days that tension really confuses me. But there is grace for every day. Grace enough for them and for me. The tricky thing is making sure they know that without spoiling the mess out of them.

We've had a messload of fun lately! The kids still enjoy making mudpies/cooking with pots and pans outside and making mud soup. Evolet even brought me "mud coffee" (oh she knows her mother so well:) We've been learning songs, letters, numbers, colors, how to spell our names. We really do all have a blast together! Not to sounds horribly repetitive, but I really can't wait to get home so everyone can meet my awesome kids and enjoy them like I do!
Two silly sisters sittin' in a tree.
Keira being funny

Shaving cream rescuing me from the insane-ness that is bathtime! Praise God the fascination with the shaving cream beard crosses all ethnic boundaries:)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Striving to Rest

Do you ever feel like there's a war going on inside your head? Movies and cartoons depict this battle as the red-horned little devil on one shoulder and the halo-clad angel on the other. While this may not be completely accurate, that is exactly what it feels like sometimes. I find myself constantly arguing with myself and I'm convinced that if these conversations were audible I would be committed to an institution by now:)

A big one for me is choosing to find comfort in Christ rather than trying to satisfy my unhappiness with other things. Because it's never enough. There's not enough coffee, books, TV, or cappucino muffins in the world to make what I'm going through right now feel ok. There's only one person who really knows and understands and he pleads with us to run to him for comfort. His name is Jesus and he endured infinate suffering for the sake of God's glory and redemption of orphans like me.

Tom Hicks at Morningview Baptist Church has been preaching a remarkable series on Hebrews. Chapters 3 and 4 deal with God's rest in terms of salvation and heaven itself. I just listened to this one on Hebrews 4:12-13 which says

"(11)Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (12) For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (13)And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

Does it seem ironic that the writer of Hebrews says "strive to enter that rest"? I thought it did. It seems like we should be either striving or resting, but you know I have found that it's hard work sometimes to just trust and rest. It's even harder than trying to fight your way out on your own. I know this is not the full intention of this verse, but it certainly made me think about where I am right now and if I'm really fighting to live in the rest I have in Christ.

This message was very convicting for me when Tom asked "Where is your heart really? Are you pursuing God to rest in him personally or are you pursuing God so that he'll give you something else? This is a great deception. Our hearts deceive us. Do you want God or something else? Are you trying to use God so that he'll give you rest in an idol or are you chasing him by faith to rest in him no matter what happens? You should pursue God for his own sake no matter what the outcome. He's better than anything he gives."

I've been running after idols for comfort. I've been giving my kids the impression that I just want them to go away so that I can pursue these other things and find happiness. I feel like in my heart I've been making excuses for myself like "Of course I've been snappy with the kids. Who wouldn't be under these circumstances?" or "Of course I have a right to complain about THIS...who wouldn't complain?" or "I won't be this grumpy when I get home and it's easier to be nice." The problem is that sin takes root quicker than we think it will. Before you know it your days are defined NOT by resting in the word of God, but by a resentful, snappy attitude toward your children and a complaining spirit that they reflect back to you like a mirror. I've been tempted to believe the lie that somehow I've been victimized by being "stuck" in Zambia. God keeps reminding me that by his sovereign hand I CHOSE to be here and that I believed it was worth it to rescue children for His glory. How quickly we lose sight of the things that matter most!

I'm thankful for a God who is not resentful or silent with his children. He spoke and has given us all we need in his word. Sometimes it takes all of the energy we have just to trust what he says, but he promises that there is rest in it.