Monday, December 24, 2012

Part Two

The week dragged on as the reality set in that Anna was not going to be our child.  I continued to pray, believing in my heart that something would change and she would eventually come home.  I even gave God a time limit as I prayed - telling him He had one week to bring her home and then I would stop praying about it and trust that He had found the forever family she needed.

I used every connection I had to try to figure out if I knew the family N had chosen for Anna.  I just couldn't find who her family was. Deciding to write N one more time, I simply told her I disagreed with her decision and believed God wanted us to be her forever family.  I ended my email by saying we were still praying.

N responded and said Anna was being picked up by her new family on Thursday. 

That Thursday, my two older kids were in their school musical.  It was so fun watching Eleanor dressed up like a flower child while Harry did his best Sonny Bono impression.  I laughed.  I shed a tear here and there as I thought Anna would just love to have them as her big brother and sister. 

Friday night was the second night of the show and we had relatives come in.  It was on this night that I officially gave up and stopped thinking about her.

Saturday - I have no idea what we did that day - but I do remember putting everyone to bed that night and they fell asleep right away.  I was the only one awake and was sitting at the computer doing something - probably playing Words With Friends or something, ha!  My cell phone rang.  Weird.  It was probably 10:30 at night and the whole house was sound asleep. 

I looked at the phone and recognized N's phone number.

Why is she calling me?

"Traci?  This is N.  Are you still interested in Anastasia?"

I gulped a bit and thought...am I?  I had just surrendered her. 

Reality slapped me and said Answer Her!   "Yes...", I simply said.

"Well..I got into a fight with the first family I chose. I am having doubts about them.  I am really second guessing not chosing your family.  Can you get here right away?  I mean, she is packed and ready to go.  She knows someone is coming to be her new family."

My heart leaped and shattered at the same time.  I could not imagine a 5 year old child being packed up and ready to go, sitting there just waiting for strangers to walk in and say, "I am your new mommy!"

I asked, "So, Anna knows she is going to a new family?  How did you tell her?"

N answered, "Her therapist told her."

I realized I really needed to talk to Joe before going another step futher.  I asked N if I could call her right back. 

"Yes..but I need to know tonight."

Wow - nothing like a little pressure huh?  OK - so you want us me to wake up my husband who has been asleep for 2 hours and ask him if I can fly to CO in a day and pick up a 5 year old from Ghana who is being disrupted?  But that is exactly what I did.

I woke up Joe.  I told him N had just called and that she now was choosing us.  He had a few questions - he clearly wanted to know more than what I could offer, but I kept saying that God had made a way!  God had changed her mind.  God's will was being done right before our eyes.

He smiled...laughed a bit...and said, "Go buy a ticket to CO."

So I called N back and said, "I am coming.  I will let you know when I get my ticket. I knew she was supposed to be ours."

That Sunday, as Joe and I worshiped a God who loves the fatherless and the orphan we couldn't keep the tears from streaming down our cheeks.  We were going to be parents again.  I can't remember if we told anyone or not - I think despite the joy we felt, we were terrified.

I scrambled around the next day getting ready.  We lived in a TINY house with TINY bedrooms and we already had 5 kiddos crammed into those rooms.  I put out a call to my friends who had girls and asked for some clothes and shoes.  I bought some pink sheets and a new yellow comforter for her bed.  Then I realized she needed a pillow pet - after all, the other 5 each had one.  It's funny looking back what was important to me then...things like pillow pets and a closet full of clothes.

Tuesday came and I drove my old Suburban to the Milwaukee airport.  I was taking an early flight to CO and would try as hard as I could to maneuver my way onto an earlier return flight.  I wanted to just get her and get home!  My stomach was in knots the entire flight there.  I couldn't read, couldn't listen to music....couldn't really do anything but worry.

The plane landed and I walked into the concourse of the airport and suddenly froze.  I couldn't even take another step.  I had been here before - walking toward a child I believed God had chosen for me.  The first time I was so sure that the child would run into my arms and hold on tight.  I thought my love would bring healing immediately and that child would know from my warm smile and my tears that I loved him. 

That did not happen.  He ran from me.  He wouldn't look at me.  He would cringe when I tried to touch him.  I had never felt such rejection before in my life.  It was the most painful moment I have ever gone through.

And here I was CHOOSING to walk into that same scenario.  But this time, with an extra broken child.  A girl who had been rejected more than once!

My fingers shook and I could barely see my phone screen to pull up Joe's number.  I was seriously having a panic attack (and I never have them!).  Joe answered and was so excited to hear from me!  He immediately asked, "Is Anna with you?"

I just broke into a sob.  I could barely talk, but tried to stammer the words, "I can't do this!  I am so scared!  I just want to come home!!"

Joe couldn't believe his ears.  But, he gently told me to take some deep breaths and then he did the only thing a husband could do in that moment.  He started to pray.  He prayed for me.  He prayed for Anna.  And he prayed that God would be with me. 

Immediately, peace flooded into my heart.  And I heard God clearly say, "Trust me.  I have sent you to RESCUE my child."

The peace was there...but it was a battle to keep the fear from creeping in again and again.  I found my rental car and plugged in a Christian radio station - just trusting that singing some words of praise would help me get through the next hour as I drove to N's house. 

The whole time I was shaking.  I wondered over and over again how Anna would react to me.

Then I pulled up to the house...or...I should say ranch - with the majestic Rocky Mountains literally in her back yard.  It truly was one of the most amazing places I have ever seen!  I thought there is NO WAY a little girl would want to leave this place to come to Wisconsin and live in a tiny, old farm house.  Doubt was sinking it's claws onto my back and he whispered into my ear that I was a fool for thinking what I had to offer Anna was better than this!  I began to shake again.

I pulled up the very long driveway and noticed all the corals and horses. A few ponies were in a ring.  Numerous dogs greeted me and even a few kittens scurried across the path dodging the car.  A man with dread-locs, a flannel shirt and a warm smile greeted me. 

"You must be Traci."

"Yes....and you are?"

"J.  I am N's boyfriend..."  It seemed like he wanted to say something more.  His eyes were sad even though his smile was kind. 

He simply nodded toward the house and said, "She's in there."

I was led to the front door and he opened it.  There was N.  I still hadn't seen Anna yet.  Dogs, little ones, were barking and snapping at my heels.  I looked around and saw such disarray.  There was even a lamb in the house - making such noises.  N said the lamb needed to be fed.  "Oh.." was all I said.

Then from behind a door, Anna's face peeked around the corner.  I saw here eyes.  She was smiling!

N snapped at her, "Anna!  You know you are not allowed to be in the same room as the dog!  Go back to your room!"

I must have had a shocked look on my face because N felt she needed to explain, "Anna kicked Muffin.  I just can't have her around the dog."  She said this as Muffin was nipping at my heels - barking and lunging at me. 

I almost kicked the dog myself.

N then said, "Anna's things are in her room.  Right back there."

I walked into her room and gasped.  There was Anna.  In a room with a mattress on the floor, a very large duffel bag and a few things strewn about - a cowboy hat, a naked Barbie doll and a blanket. 

At this point, I knew what God meant.  RESCUE.

I knelt down and talked to Anna a bit.  I asked if I could hug her and then asked her if she knew that she was coming home with me.  She nodded.  Her hair was a knotty mess.  My shock continued to grow.

All I wanted to do was get out of that house!  I immediately said I had a chance of catching an earlier flight back to Wisconsin and that I would not be hanging out for a few hours like we originally planned.  N was fine with that.

I lugged the bag - it was over 75 pounds and I was stumped as to how I would get that thing on the plane!  I asked about a car seat and N went to get it.  Filthy was an understatement.  Again, I just breathed deep and quietly prayed that God would be with me through this.

I truly felt like I was in a dream.

Here I was in a strange house, mess all around me, dogs lunging at my feet, a little girl with cracked skin and hair that had not been attended to...ever....in a room that no little girl should ever have to live in. 

Honestly, I don't remember any of the small talk that went between N and I.  J was there and he kept hugging Anna.  I got the impression J was not in agreement of N's decision and he told her he would always love her.  N said nothing. 

Anna hopped into my rental car and simply said goodbye to N.  She called her N.  Not Mom.  I shut the door and N said, 'See...she has never been able to bond with me.  This is for the best."

I said a few things about the legal issues that N would have to follow up with, said goodbye and got into the car.  Shutting  the door, I sighed and began to drive away.  At the end of the driveway, I handed Anna a photo book I had made of our family and our house. 

She suddenly asked, "Hey!  What should I call you?"

I hesitated for just a moment, but then answered, "Momma.  I am Momma."

Anna was quiet for a moment.  Then she said quietly, "Momma.  I like that."

And we started to make our way home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Anna's Story

Finally....Anna is a Weldie!  It has been a very long road.  Never once did I doubt that Anna was ours, never once did I think God would turn us on a different course with this baby girl but clearly it did take a long time.

So, I can finally share her story.  I was afraid to tell it until she was legally ours, but now she is a Weldie, her name has been legally changed, the new birth certificate has been ordered with the name Anna Judith.  Quickly, her name was Anastasia...I was OK with it, but Joe didn't like it at all - so the day I picked her up in Colorado I asked her if it was ok if I called her Anna.  She smiled and said, "Sure!".  After being with us for almost a year, we talked about what we would name her when the adoption was finalized.  All of our children have family names - and Anna was Anastasia Patience.  My sister sent a wonderful family history and I scoured it for the name Patience - thinking we could keep that.  But in my heart, I knew I wanted her to be a Judith.  Judith is my mom's name and I wanted to pass that on to one of my children very much.  I talked to Anna (after she has met my mom) and asked her about making her middle name Judith, being named after Grandma.  She giggled and smiled and loved it very much.  Anna Judith she is!

How did I find out about Anna?  NO...NOT ON CR*IG'S LIST!  Yes, that rumor has been circulating around.  I am part of a wonderful group of ladies who share a web-board who all adopted from Ethiopia through the same agency.  There are some WARRIORS on that board - women who fight and pray passionately for children waiting to be adopted.  Some of those women frequent a website called CH*SK, which stands for Christian Homes Adopting Special-Needs Kids.  This website is used by pregnant moms who know their babies are going to have special needs and want to find a home for their baby.  Or, it is used often my parents wishing to disrupt or dissolve their adoptions. 

This brings up good questions.  What exactly IS disruption?  A disruption is when an adoptive parents has received a referral of a child and has completed some of the steps toward the adoption, but then changes their mind and can no longer finalize the adoption of that child. A dissolution is when an adoption has been finalized and then the parents decide they can no longer parent the child and so they wish to dissolve the finalized adoption.  Basically, it's a divorce. 

Anna's first adoptive mom, I will call her N, had adopted Anna from Ghana bringing her home to CO in December 2010.  In April 2011, Anna first appeared on CH*SK.

Two friends from the web-board let everyone know about Anna for two reasons:  1) many families on this board have adopted "older", "special needs kids" from Africa and are very aware of the challenges and joys of this type of adoption and 2) they are just crazy about making sure no child has to go through a long-drawn out process of dissolution.  One dear friend wrote to me, "Traci..I just know it...this child is yours!"  And she began praying.

I went to the website.  I was familiar with it because I would visit it occasionally, mainly to pray for the kids that were waiting for families.  After all, I was in the middle of immense challenges at home with George!  Why in the world would I bring another adopted child...let alone one that already caused enough problems in their home to be disrupted...into my  mess?

I probably should go back a few steps.  Yes..it was very, very hard with George.  But, we were seeing tiny baby steps forward.  Joe and I wondered aloud many times if George would do better if he was not the "only one".  The only one with brown skin.  The only one who was adopted.  The only one who didn't have a history with us.  In late night conversations, Joe and I thought about his and decided maybe a girl from Africa would be nice for the whole family.  We laughed...were we crazy?  We had NO money...we were EXHAUSTED dealing with George each day...and our other children were FED up with the whole scene.  Yea...that idea is crazy.  But, let's pray.

See a theme here? 

Then, I saw her picture.


And her beauty took my breath away.  And I knew...deep down in my heart...THIS was my daughter.

I read her profile.  Oh my.....wait....

Scary words jumped out off the page, "terrorizes children her age or younger", "hurts animals on a regular basis", "masturbates all the time", "eats like an animal", "flirts with the mother's boyfriend"...and then the word, "sociopath".

I just didn't know what to do next. 

This child?  She does all that?  My heart stopped and I cried out to God?  "Oh Lord!  How does a 5 year old child become this?  What is YOUR plan here?  Why have you ripped my heart over this girl and opened my eyes another child who is so hurt and broken?"

And then I did all I could think of, I took her picture and all this information to my husband.  I prayed, "God, if this is NOT your will, Joe will say NO right away.  I will trust his lead, his place in our marriage." I prepared myself to hear the word NO and then decided I would advocate for this child to find another family.

Joe surprised me.  He looked at her picture.  Then he read the words in her profile.  And then he said, "We can parent her.  Call the mother and start finding our more information."

Floored....and a little excited...and a lot terrified!

I decided to leave the house to call N.  I didn't want any of the other kids to hear the conversation and so I hopped into our old, beaten up Suburban and drove to the only place I could think of that offered some peace and quiet...the parking lot of P*p* Murphy's Pizz* (of course!).  Actually, I am always "on" as mom, and so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and order some pizza for dinner while I was there.

I was shaking horribly when I called N.  First thing I said to her was that I understood.  I shared with her a little about our life with George, and I told her I had no judgement in my heart for the decision she had made.  I also told her we would proceed slowly and with prayer.  She answered, "I can't go slowly.  I want someone to pick her up next week."

Shocked.  Really?  I asked her how many families was she talking to about adopting Anna.

She said "About five.  And honestly, the fastest one to CO gets her.  I am pregnant and this is causing all kinds of problems for my pregnancy, and she slammed the head of my 4 year old onto the ground the other day. I just can't do this anymore.  Do you want me to email you her medical records, school reports and all the psychology reports?"

I was surprised when she said Anna had been seen by 4 psychologists.  All I kept thinking was this poor baby girl from Africa had been with her for only 4 months and was already in two half-day schools (so she was in school all day) and had been seen by 4 different psychologists.  Everything I knew about international adoption said a parents must use those first crucial months to be together...all the time...constantly....bonding.  When was she ever home to bond with her mommy?

When I got home, I emailed N our homestudy so she could get a good glimpse into our family.

The reports came later that night and after everyone had gone to bed, I cautiously opened the email.  I read each one with many tears falling down my cheeks.  Those same horrible descriptions popped up everywhere, but through God's grace I noticed something....each one of those sentences that described the negative behavior started with the words, "The mother reports..."

Wow.  None of the teachers, none of the doctors ever reported seeing these behaviors.  OK...feeling a bit better now.

Then I read a paragraph from the pediatrician for recommended course of action.  Number 1 on the list was the following, "We recommend at least 30 minutes of one on one time between the child and the adoptive mother to take place every day.  We recommend rocking in a rocking chair, or allowing the child to sit on the adoptive mother's lap for 30 minutes of uninterrupted time of bonding."

I began to make the implication that maybe Anna was not getting any of this.

Then, Number 2, "Seeing the child's skin is cracked and very dry, we recommend the adoptive mother use lotion on the child's skin twice a day, every day."

And...the mom is not helping Anna put lotion on.  Another light-bulb moment.  From having adopted George, I knew how putting lotion on his body each and every day was one significant way in which I could touch George with loving hands.  And despite how much he "hated" me in those days, he would always let me put lotion on his arms, legs, belly and face.  I knew how important this simple gesture was toward the trust and bonding that needs to take place for these hurting children.

After reading the emails I announced...we can do this!

The next morning was a Saturday and I called N early and said, 'We want to be Anna's parents."  Interesting as I look back that I was already calling her Anna.   N said she had narrowed all the families down to 3 that she wanted to have a final interview with.  We set up a time for later that afternoon.

There was a part of me that was so angry..why does this mother get to say who Anna's next family is?  But..I just prayed and prayed.  And then I posted on my web-board for the ladies to pray.  And they did!

The final interview began and I was asked just a few questions.  The first was, "What is your trigger point?"  Huh?  I wasn't even sure what that meant.  N continued, "You know..that point in which her behavior drives you to a point where you say you have had enough and don't want her anymore."  Oh....I thought for a few seconds and then said, "I don't have a trigger point."

"O, come one!  You have to have a trigger point."  N replied, "What if she hurts your youngest, what's his name?  What if she slams his head into the ground?"

I had to hold back a laugh, "She won't be able to.  Lincoln is the youngest of five right now and would never let a younger girl do that to him.  But...I see your point.  If she hurts Lincoln, we'll deal with it."

I could sense N getting angry, "What if she burns down the house?  Or what if she kills your beloved dog?"

Wow.  All these what-ifs!  I honestly told her, "I don't know what I would do if those things happened.  But I do know this...I would turn to my Lord and Savior to help me, to give me wisdom and to bring healing to Anna."

Clearly this was not an answer N liked....and she moved to another line of questioning.

"If I chose you, when can you pick her up?"

I quickly thought of a couple things; purchasing a plane ticket, who would help around the house with the other five children, and I remembered both Harry and Eleanor were in the school musical which was next week.  After calculating all these things I answered, "In 10 days."

"OK, I will make my decision by tomorrow afternoon and let you know.  Bye."  N hung up the phone.

I couldnt' help but think the final interview went horribly.  And I kept wondering if I should have told her I could pick up Anna sooner than 10 days.  But...we still had to tell our kids!  And we still had the musical and the last thing I wanted to do was miss my children in their big moment!

I told Joe the interview did not go very well.  He answered we simply needed to pray about it.  Then, we gathered the kids on the front porch and told them we wanted to talk to them about something.  We happened to be watching the kids of friends' of our that weekend - so we had an extra 3 roaming around.  We asked them if they could give us some time to talk.

We laid out the story (appropriately, of course) of Anna and how she needed a new home.  Lincoln and George both said, "Cool" and ran off to play basketball.  Isabel gushed, "Oh mommy!  I want a little sister, please, please go get her!!"  Eleanor was quiet but said, "I will trust that God is in this...I may not understand why you would want to adopt again, but I know God's Word is clear."  Harry...well...he was furious and  stomped up to his room.

I followed him.  He was so angry, "Why would you do this?  Why?  I don't want her.  I don't want another George running around here!"

He was adamant and so angry.  There was no talking at this moments, so I let him cry and then promised to be back to talk later.   A few hours later, we both climbed onto my bed and had a long, long talk.  I understood his anger and his fear.  It really was fear.  He had taken George's behavior toward me so hard...he couldn't stand the way George treated me.  He wanted to protect me and defend me.  Oh how this momma's heart appreciated that.  But, I reminded him that we needed to trust the Lord in this.  I told him how we had been praying and even though it seemed like this was happening very suddenly, the answers we were hearing from God were undeniable.  God was saying "Go rescue my daughter!"  I shared with Harry that I didn't know what that meant, but I wanted to be obedient.  He said he understood.  He still didn't want her, but he was willing to give it all up to God.

Sunday morning came and Joe and I prayed and cried all morning during church.  We knew she was ours!  We couldn't wait to get that phone call from N.

We sat on the front porch with the phone all afternoon, waiting and waiting. 

Then the phone rang.

"Hi.  I wanted to know I selected another family.  I think you have too many kids and I am afraid she can't have any siblings close to her age, like Lincoln, for she will hurt them.  Sorry."

All I could think of us "NO!  This is not right!!!"  Those words were screaming in my mind, but to N I said, "Well....I don't think this over.  I will keep praying."

And we said goodbye and hung of the phone.

Devastated I turned to Joe.  He knew the answer and we both cried for a minute.  And then, we vowed to keep praying. We would pray for Anna and pray that she was with a good family - -that would be how we would pray from now on.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Need

I broke down tonight and put in a favorite Christmas CD.  I didn't plan on doing it -but as I was looking around for something, it literally dropped out of the cabinet and fell on me.  I saw that as a good reason to pop it in.

As I was cleaning up the dishes from dinner, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the words of some old familiar tunes.."Glory in the highest....glory in the highest...unto you, Lord!"  And His glory over whelms me as I look out the window and see a multitude of stars set against a black November night sky. 

Glory.

And yet...I am also surrounded by broken people in such need.  A mom just called me who has no idea how she is going to provide a Thanksgiving meal to her kids.  Her kids go to school and hear all about the feast of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pies - and then come home to empty pantries and another night of mac-n-cheese, the .33 kind.

I was at church this Sunday as dozens of hard working very poor people came in to get their "golden ticket"- a piece of paper that said they could pick up a large box of food for Thanksgiving.  All these men and women work at a chicken processing factory.  Some butcher the chickens.  Some clean up the mess left behind.  Most of them had children and were tired after a long week of work.  In fact, two men sat in their car for two hours in the parking lot, afraid all the food would be gone if they got their "on time". 

A single mom called me 8 times on Friday.  She has a 2 year old and is pregnant with twins that she is giving up for adoption.  She is in an empty apartment, empty other than a crib and a rocking chair.  For herself?  Nothing.  And she heard I might be able to get her a bed.  I was in a meeting in Columbia and couldn't answer my phone.  8 times she called, wanting to know if I could just get her a bed to sleep on because her back was starting to hurt as she slept on the floor. 

Glory to God in the highest!  Yes!  He is glorious!  And He has a plan of redemption for this world!

But it is still so broken and hurting and in need.

I don't have a nice little wrapped up message for this post.  Just needing to pour out the things that are swirling in my head.  Like...for all those far right, Christian conservatives...who don't want entitlement programs and handouts....what are YOU doing for these men and women?  I haven't seen the church step and do much in my lifetime.  I have seen lots of million dollar buildings go up in the name of Sunday School.  I have recently seen a church with a workout facility!  And yet, hungry men and women sleep on the floor while we worship in decorated sanctuaries just so we like the way it looks at Christmas time. 

I have heard many Christians complain and bemoan the results of the election....my challenge to those is to start stepping up!  Be compassionate.  Jesus had compassion...look up how many times in the gospel are the words, "Jesus had compassion on them.." or "Jesus looked at her with compassion..".  The need does not need our judgement...they need our compassion and our relationships. 

I was struck with the words that conclude James 2.."Mercy triumphs over judgement."  I can't seem to get past those words as my heart meditates on that very simple sentence.  Judgement is easy and takes little effort.  Mercy is exhausting and expensive. 

What am I choosing tonight as I listen to the next song..."..and yet you became flesh, living as one of us under the shadow of the cross . With through the blood you shed, you have made peace again, peace for the world that God so loves."  Peace.  Mercy. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

To Write Again?

Talk about serious writer's block....it has been a long dry spell.  There is much to catch up on - and I will try to get on that.

But the good news is that we get to adopt Anna - finally!  It has taken quite the battle and along the way we have seen a miracle.  We are anxious to make our family of 8 official!

Until then, I have been so busy with the ministry here.  God continues to move before us and open many, many doors.  After going to Colombia, my heart yearns for what a ministry like Safe families can do in a country in South America that has no foster care system.  And for many weeks after returning home I could think of little other than going back.  But...over time...God has shown me the amount of work that needs to be done here. 

I am reminded of how God wants us to do well with what He gives us.  Now...He is asking me to do well with the ministry in South Carolina not South America...yet. 

So, I finally wrote something!  Now, maybe the words will start coming back.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wishes

I have been the worst blog writer lately!

There...I got that out of the way.

Life has been so busy.  First of all the children are all doing great in school.  All six went back to school seamlessly and beautifully.  We are falling into our fall schedules and enjoying the structure that school brings to our family.  We have gone a few wonderful hikes in the mountains of NC, had a few more outdoor movie nights in our backyard, and enjoyed the amazing weather down here.

Here is George, Lincoln and Anna playing with their good friend, SG.



But the real blog-worthy report is how George is doing.  To put is simply..we are in a sweet spot. 

I realize that only 6 months ago, you could find me daily laying prone on my bedroom floor crying out to God, begging Him to move in George's heart and mind.  And about 4 months ago, Joe and I opened up to our Lifegroup about our struggles with George through many tears.  The group came around us, laying their hands gently on us and prayed eaernestly that God would move.

And now, we are in a sweet spot.  I am so afraid it will become not so sweet - and I am sure we will hit many more bumps for it has happened so many times before, but at least for today, God is giving me a glimpse of what a committed life and relationship with George MAY look like. 

Probably the biggest change in George is his ability to be corrected.  He is no longer yelling out hurtful words that pierce my heart, he is no longer stomping up the stairs and slamming his door, and he is no longer fighting back about everything.  Joe and I have also changed...no longer do I try to spend 10 minutes talking George to death about something, no longer do I LET George argue and fight back.  I have been given real tools for how to parent this child with RAD. 

But what I really want to share is a story from Tuesday. 

The kids and I sat at the dinner table eating our meal of spaghetti...laughing, enjoying sharing stories of our day when Lincoln asked something about what he was like when he was a baby.  Eleanor and Harry started sharing halarious stories of Lincoln sleeping with his bum up in the air or peeing all over dad when he changed his diaper.  The kids were rolling with laughter - including Anna would could not stop giggling.  I noticed George was covering his eyes.  Quietly, he finished dinner and joined all his siblings as they headed out side to enjoy a wonderful late-summer evening. 

I set about doing the dishes when George raced back into the house, tears streaming down his cheeks.  I met him at the back door and just opened up my arms not knowing what he would do.

He fell into them and wrapped his skinny arms around my waist.

And he cried.

And he said, "Oh momma....I wish I would have been your baby."

My heart broke and I simply wrapped my arms tightly around him and kissed his head and told him that I wished that as well.

"I miss my Africa mommy so much....why did she have to leave me....why did she take me to the orphanage..the orphanage was not a good place....I don't understand...and I wish I would have been in your belly and you were my momma from the very beginning...and I don't know how I can love two moms!"

I told him he could love us both the way I love all my children.  I told him it is possible to love us both and I will not be upset if he loves his Africa mommy with all his heart for the rest of her life.  I told him I love her for giving you life and making sure you were given a chance to be adopted. 

And then, I told him what I want him to hear every time he starts to mourn....Jesus was with you. "In that moment when your mommy walked away...Jesus was holding your hand.  In those nights were you were terrified in the orphanage...Jesus was guarding your bed.   In those moments you were unsure of your new family in this new country...Jesus was wrapping his arms around you and loving you."

I wiped away George's tears and he let me hold him a few more minutes as we stood in the kitchen. 

He eventually sighed, smiled up at me and said, "I love you." 

Then as quickly as he came in, he ran out the door and started playing with his brothers and sisters.




I wish there was no pain in adoption.  I wish there was no loss in adoption - but by nature there is HUGE loss and GREAT pain.  But, as I watched George skip across the back yard, laughing and batting around a huge beach ball, I was reassured once again...that this has all been worth it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

HOPE!

I have realized that many adoptive and foster moms are in need of encouragement!  My friend just wrote a book that is sure to fill your hearts with peace and comfort.  Order a copy of  31 Nuggets of Hope....

And....check out the t-shirts!  They are so cool - I really love the colors and the long-sleve ones :)



Check out the ordering page here..    http://www.31nuggetsofhope.com/ordering.html

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tell Us About Yourself.....

It is the usual Back to School assignment that MOST kids LOVE!  They get asked to bring in baby pictures, tokens from special family vacations, favorite memory of growing up.  The kids very proudly stand in front of their classmates, show off their cute, chubby baby-picture self, hold up their Micky Mouse ears they got from Disneyworld when they were 4 years old, and then say, "I look just like my daddy."

George had this assignment today.  He moped around the house most of the afternoon yesterday looking for special things to put into a brown paper bag that "told the story of his life so far".   He grabbed a few things and I asked him, "What does this say about the story of your life?"  He never had an answer, so I suggested a few items that might tell his story;  I found a little ambulance match-box car and said, "You could tell everyone that you want to be a paramedic." I found a flag and said, "You could talk about how you loved watching the Olympics this year." 

Pretty much every idea I came up with, he discounted.

He put a few things into his bag, one of which was a small woven basket from Ethiopia.  I was very proud of him that he had chosen to bravely talk about how he was from Ethiopia.

I couldn't wait to hear how it went, but inside I KNEW it would be a disaster. 

He gets into the car, "I hate you.  I am the step brother and I  know in my brain you love Isabel more than me."

"Um....what?"

I told him that we would talk when we got home.

He said some more hurtful things and he needed to cool down a bit in his room before we talked. 

I thought, prayed...prayed some more and then walked into his room and asked, "Did you have a bad day because you had to share your story?"

Immediately, the tears started falling.  "I saw all these pictures of kids with their mommas and daddys and I don't have mine anymore and I just miss them so much."  He sobbed.  He was truly heart broken..again.

Again..he was reminded that he is different.

Again..he was reminded that he has experienced loss.

Again..he was reminded that his life story is not like all the other kids in his small town, SC school. 

Maybe some day he will thrive in this..but as a 9 year old...being different is NOT what George wants.  And so, he lashed out at me and the other kids today.  He wanted to hurt us again.

For the first time in our relationship, we were able to really talk about this.  He was so scared.  He was so ashamed.  He is convinced that the kids in school will make fun of him if they knew his story.  He won't even try..he doesn't trust me enough when I tell him that the kids won't laugh.  And so, he lied and said his dad worked for WalMart and made the basket. 

And the kids said, "Cool.  I want to get one."

They think they can meet George's dad at WalMart this Saturday.

Sigh.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Ready for School

Excitement is in the air...the kids backpacks are filled with supplies...new tennis shoes are ready by the back door...and today, all during the day, the kids find out their schedules, teachers and classes. 

We have a few changes this year. 

Eleanor, however, has few changes. And for that, she is so grateful!  Eleanor has had so many changes thrown at her over the years, including the move down to SC this time last year.  She started at one school and within a week, it became crystal clear that this school and Eleanor were not a good match.  Three weeks into the school year last year, we moved her to an International Baccalaureate school and she is thriving.  It was a good year, and I watched this year as my confident, self-controlled fifteen year old daughter walked into sophomore orientation, waving at her friends and even being knocked over with a hug.  So, she will be at the same school, with the same friends and on the same schedule.  And she likes that!

Harry, as well, after being moved to a new school six weeks into the school year, is happy to be returning to the same school. 

The four littles are going to a new school.  One of the things I like about Greenville education is the ability to move your children to schools that fit their learning style or abilities.  George will also be enrolling at a learning center that will give him extra help several hours a week.  Joe and I are confident that he now has a great grasp of the English language..and now is the time to give him every opportunity to succeed in school.  Right now, he can read any word..but his comprehension is at the 1st grade level.  We MUST help him improve in his ability to understand..and so we are making the commitment to George.

They start Wednesday and are counting down the hours...I love how they all love school.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oh...Ministry Life

I prayed fervently to God to use me...send me.  I especially wanted to GO...anywhere...everywhere.  Except, probably, South Carolina. 

Tomorrow, marks the one year anniversary of us meeting a jam packed moving van full of all our belongs at a house we would call our home.  And tomorrow, one year ago, was when I followed God...and my husband's job...to South Carolina.

For the past ten years, my prayer has been the same...SEND ME....USE ME.   I can remember, as a teenager, pouring over the Christian teenage magazine I received (can't remember the name of it!) and staring for hours at the advertisements for short term mission trips.  I would pray and beg God...why did you create this heart in me that LONGS to go?  Won't you please send me?

I know that heart-beat does not exist in everyone...in fact most people I talk to have no desire to go.  I don't understand that at all. 

I can also clearly remember the first time the Holy Spirit moved in my heart and said, "He WILL send you...do well where He sends you."  I started thinking....Africa?  Europe?  Surely He won't send me to....South Carolina of all places.

Guess where He has sent me...yup...South Carolina.  And He has taken my thoughts and expectations and blown them out of the water.  Not because of success or numbers or budgets...but because He has caused my heart to break over what breaks His heart.

His heart breaks over....single mothers struggling over the burden of choosing to feed her kids or pay the electric bill.  His heart breaks over....children who are neglected and left to fend for themselves.  His heart breaks over...the woman who continues to go back to the abusive boyfriend because she feels trapped and has no self worth.  His heart breaks over... a pregnant teen who's family has told her they are so ashamed of her they never want her to come home.  His heart breaks over...moms who make horrible decisions about their children and put them into harms way. 

Now..I talk to these women on a daily basis. And I am overwhelmed with the sadness.  I find myself often crying on Georgia Road. I don't know why...maybe because I am close to being home at that point and know that in my home, I will find respite and sanity and order and love...and after the days I have, I need that.

I cry because I know I let people down.  I know I fail some of them and can't do everything they want me to do.  And there are many days that I ask the Lord, 'Did you know what you were doing when you sent ME?'  Because I am so inadequate...so inexperienced...so in over my head most days.

Then, I get a letter from a mom in prison...and I am humbled to the core about what this ministry is doing for her.  Then, I get to take a truck load full of diapers to a mom struggling to care for her son with Down Syndrome. Then, I get to deliver groceries to that mom who was making the decision to feed her children or pay the electric bill. 

That mom wrote me a letter later that day...and she shared how words could not adequately express her gratitude toward the people who generously gave.  For that day...she had hope.

While this ministry life is draining and exhausting..I know that IS God's plan for me...to keep me humbly in a place that says, "I can't do this..it is impossible or me to do this," so that everyone, including myself, is constantly being pointed back to the Lord. 






Friday, August 10, 2012

Heart Wrenching Day

I knew the ups wouldn't last for too long..that is just the nature of this adoption.  And..the down time came the past few days.  They have been tough, as I sensed George trying to do many things to make us mad or push us away.  At one point, Joe and I looked at each other and said, "We are so over this roller coaster.  Can we just get off now?"

George had decided he wanted to live with our neighbors.  Why?  Because they get to play video games all day long...basically.  So, what nine year boy would NOT want to play video games all day long?  Not many, I realize this.  But what happens is more than George thinking this is a cool house because the parents let their kids play video games all day long..in HIS mind he thinks, "The parents love these kids more because they let their kids do whatever they want all day long.  No one to tell them to pick up their room.  No one to tell them it's time for bed. No one telling me how to act."

So George came home and announced, "I am not a Weldie anymore."  He picked a fight with Lincoln and literally let the other boys TRY to beat him up.  Thankfully, Lincoln is one tough cookie and held his own against the older boys.  George sat back and  watched and then sided with the neighbors.  Joe tried to talk to George about always siding with your family first...and George said he doesn't want us to be his family anymore.

Oh, the heart ache.  I felt like I did in the very beginning when words like that cut so deeply.  Why?  I just couldn't get over wondering why he was doing this...again...after we were having such wonderful days!

Joe had a long talk with him...so long that I had to open the door and say, "Too much attention."  Part of the RAD mind thrives on all things chaos and all the attention - even if it is "bad" attention.  Here was George getting just what he wanted.

But..it is also what he needed.  And quickly the cycle ran its course.

All the anger was then directed at me.  "It's all YOUR fault!"

"OK buddy..I am sorry you feel that way, but you are staying here in your room until you calm down and then you can find me on the back porch where we can talk."

15 minutes later George walks down to find me. 

"I am sorry, Momma."

I always ask for what?  I need George..and all my children for that matter...to be specific in their apologies.  They need to know what they are apologizing for, not just a blank sorry that covers anything and everything.

But, George couldn't answer that.  And so, I asked him to sit down right across from me so we could talk.

And then, I poured my heart out to George.  I shared with him how much I loved him and how I had given him everything I had...I had given him all the love I could possibly have for a child.  I have given him every ounce of forgiveness and grace a momma could have.  I have poured into him positive words of our future together.  I have not given up on him.  And then I asked him, "What am I not giving you?  Because if there is something you need, I need to know that. But...I need you to know that I have and am giving you everything  I can already."

His defense kicked in and he shouted at me, "Then just give up on me!"

I replied quickly and calmly, "I have never said I was giving up.  You are the one who always talks about giving up.  But, it is not me who says I am giving up.  Right?"

He nodded. 

I asked him, 'What is your last name?"

"Lema."

Another knife into the heart.

I do what I often do with George..and I take him back to the day his mommy took him to the orphanage in Soddo.  And I ask him, "Who saw you?  Who was with you?"

He shrugs his shoulders.  I think he knows, but he still wants me to continue.

"Jesus was there with you.  He saw you when you were scared and He held your heart.  He saw when you were hungry and when you went to bed alone and He was there. And at that moment, He spoke to Joe and Traci Weldie and told them, "I want you to go rescue one of my children who is scared and hungry and alone."  And Joe and Traci obeyed God.  They saw a picture of George and immediately fell in love.  And Jesus stayed right there next to George the entire time..until his new momma  and daddy could get to Ethiopia."

George responds to this familiar story with, "I wish I was back in the orphanage."

We talk about what that would really be like. 

He is quiet and then walks away. 

 I have no idea what he is thinking about or what will happen next, but to my surprise, he comes racing back onto the porch and falls into my lap sobbing.
"I miss my mommy so much. It hurts.  My heart hurt.  I wasn't ready to go.  I wish my mommy could come live here with us!"

And I remind George as I hold him and rock him gently that I love his mommy, too.  And that it is OK to love both mommies!  He seems to be so surprised by this notion and asks me "What?" many times.  I tell him over and over again that he can totally love both mommies.  And I tell him what I have often said, "Someday, your mommy and I will give each other the biggest hug two mommies ever shared."

George talked more about living with him mom and Grandmother. He often tells me his mom's tongue was purple and how that scared him.  He says his mom and his grandmother were so sick and he was so hungry.  He said, "You know when a tummy doesn't eat much for a long time, sometimes food can hurt the tummy and I would throw up."  I told him I knew that and that is why we understood when he threw up so many times when we were first a family. 

We stayed that way for a long time...for us....probably 20 minutes or so.  And he melted into my body the way all my other kids do..but he has never done!  He usually has been so rigid, not letting himself relax and melt into me.  It happened today.

It happened today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Dream of Running Finally Gets Some Legs

In October 2009, I wrote a blog post about running.  At that time, I was homeschooling my four children and used to take every lunch hour to run a few miles in my neighborhood.  It was a boring run...literally running a city block around my house time and time and time and time again.  But, as I ran, I would pray about my new son.  I had only seen his face then..and I knew his name...and I had such dreams of what he would be like. 

I just KNEW he would be so sweet - that he would love to cuddle up with me and hold my hand.  I knew he would climb into my lap as I read night time stories to him.  I knew he would call me momma right away..and he would be my LOVE.

Back in October, I wrote this:

As I run, I now have visions of George running beside me some day. I know many parents who have adopted from Ethiopia who have had their hearts suddenly turned to distant running. I was inspired by the Olympics, seeing the amazing dark-skinned men and women race to the finish of multiple long distance races. These same athletes, when they walked into the opening ceremony looked stunned, thrilled, humble and truly blessed to be there. Immediately, I started rooting for them to "win it all"! I do think of George most of the time when I run. Will he enjoy running? Will he want to come out with me to just feel those legs getting stronger? Will this be a way we can bond?
I can remember crying as I ran, so sad about how long we had to wait for our son to come home.  I kept thinking someday, we will run together.

Then, George came home.  And he squirmed away from my touches.  He shook his finger at me and shook his head no when I said I was his momma.  He never wanted to do anything with me.

And I stopped running. 

Mainly because when I was gone, George would try to run away.  Or, he would stand in the front yard, pull down his pants and scream at the top of his lungs.  Another time, he destroyed his room, tearing apart every gift ever given to him.  I couldn't leave the house anymore and get that time to myself.

And then eventually, I just didn't want to run anymore.

Fast forward THREE years.  Three long years.  Three years of heartache, frustrations, disappointments and ultimately, resignation that my son is not who I thought he would be.  I needed to be OK with that.  I needed to trust that GOD, in His perfect plan, brought just the perfect boy to our family.  For three years, I have waited and surrendered and loved and forgiven.

Then...George asked, "Momma, can I go running with you?"

"Of course!"

My heart swelled within me.  I couldn't believe what was happening.  A dream that I had completely forgotten about suddenly began to sprout again.  Does he really want to do this with me?  Does he want to share this experience with me? 

I had Eleanor take a picture because I just knew this was a miracle in the making. 



So, we ran.  And boy, can he run!  He smoked me the entire way.  He was probably 50 yards ahead of me the entire run- but at every turn in the neighborhood, he would look back gesturing "which way should I go?".  When I would point one way or another to indicate a turn or stay straight, he would set his face again toward the "finish line" and run on ahead.  He often looked back...making sure I was still there. I would wave or give him a thumbs up each time.  And when we finally arrived at our home, he walked with me up and down our street to cool off. 

I told him how awesome he was.  We laughed about how fast he is..so much faster than momma!  He smiled and even blushed a bit as we joked about all the sweat rolling down his face.  We hugged.

And then, he ran off to play with a friend...but not before yelling over his shoulder, as loud as he could, "I love you, Momma!"

I love you too, son.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

No Greater Joy

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  3 John 1:4

I remember reading this verse after I saw someone in my church parking with the vanity plate that read, "3 Jn 1:4".  And I thought to myself...I hope I can say that with confidence someday.  I have been hesitant to "brag" about my children's faith  or spiritual life simply because I have learned through my own experience with my family that just because a child is being raised in a Christian home does not guarantee a life of walking in the truth.

But...I am amazed by two of my children right now.  And today...I have no greater joy...because I know that today, at least two of my children are CHOOSING to follow the Lord with boldness and conviction.

Eleanor and Harry just came back from a week long mission trip to Birmingham, AL.  They both were on small teams that ministered to poor, urban families through fixing up their homes.  They painted everything that could be painted on the outside of the house, picked up trash, laid mulch, cauked, scrapping paint for single women. 

After serving all day long, in 100 degree Alabama heat, they enjoyed worship that Harry reported was like being at a Hillsong concert every night.  They had church time where they completely gerw closer to their youth group and the Lord.  Both Eleanor and Harry come home thoroughly changed by this experience. 

Eleanor and Harry have decided that faith is not a Sunday morning thing.  There is no "box" they can check on Sunday at 11:00 that says, "OK..I did my thing at church and now that's done for the week."  They both have come to understand that Jesus asks for ALL of us...all our time, all our dreams, all our hopes, all our fears.  They GET it better than some adults I know who SAY they are Christians.  And that brings me great joy!

I have a son who signed up for more information about mission trips around the world...without even asking us or talking to us!  Some of you may gasp at that...but for Joe and I...we LOVE that!  Yes, Lord...use our son and take him around the world to see what breaks your heart and to learn more about YOU!

I have a daughter who is ready to take on her public high school and be the light that shines.  She is not afraid of the public school - she is standing firm in her faith even among a group of people who  believe there is no need for God.

And this is what amazes me...and humbles me...because all I have ever wanted was for my children to be PASSIONATE about our God who humbled himself on a cross and DIED for them.  I mean, if you REALLY think about what God did for us, isn't it natural for your LIFE to be completely transformed out of GRATITUDE for Jesus?  And that transformed life is a life of ACTION....DOING the things that Jesus commanded.  But that also means KNOWING what Jesus said! 

Eleanor and Harry are starting down this path...and I have no greater joy right now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Power of Words

I learned in January how to speak into George's life.  I learned how powerful my words are for this little boy who calls me Momma.

I began making an effort to start talking about the future with  George and telling him how he is going to be a great man.  I also then encourage him to start being a good boy now..that it will be very hard to suddenly be "good" when he gets older.  We then tell him, that none of us are ever "good enough" and it's now about being good - but it is all about knowing who he is in Christ!

George needs to know that in Christ he is free!
That in Christ, he is forgiven!
That in Christ, he is an adopted son of the King!
That in Christ, he is loved!
That in Christ, he is forgiven!
And that in Christ, he is GREAT!

Last night, as our family gathered in the living room, I sighed at George and said, 'You've had a tough day, haven't you?"  He nodded silently.

In one day, he had been disrespectful, disobedient, mean, teasing, selfish and bossy.  And every time I corrected him on these issues, he was getting more and more angry.  I can now literally see the anger boiling inside of him - almost shooting arrows out his eyes at me.

But, I continued to reach out to him.  I told him I was disappointed in the way he acted today, but now it was time for devotionals, and I really wanted him to sit next to me...because I love him.

He sat down.  Lincoln pouted about not sitting next to me, and I stayed next to George.  I saw George's head raise a little. 

Joe started reading the devotional.  He read, "Doing right is easier once you've committed to God's ways...doing the right thing is easier if you've already made your mind up before temptation hits.  You need to decide NOW what you will do when temptation hits.  Commit NOW to obeying God's word and following His commands, and trust Him every day for the strength to avoid temptation or, if you can't avoid it, to resist it when it comes."

Joe continued to read and when the devotional was over he asked, "Do you ever face temptation?"

We bravely went around the room and shared how we are most tempted each day:  Joe - to stay in the Word on the road;Traci - -to take the easy way, instead of the "right" way;  Eleanor - to say unkind words with her tongue; Harry - to be lazy; Isabel - to be prideful; George - to be self-centered; Lincoln - to lack self control; and Anna...well....Anna said she was "tempted to color." :)

Then Joe asked, "Have you committed your life to following God's ways?"

At this point, I looked over at George and he was clearly shaken...and tears started rolling down his cheeks. 

I reach out to him and wrapped my arms around him as he said, "I always chose the wrong thing.  I always chose to do what I want and to think of myself.  I don't want to be a bad man when I grow up, and I think I will be if I keep choosing the bad things now."

I asked him if he "hears" God talk to him.  He looked at me confused, because he has always lamented that he doesn't HEAR God.  I asked, "When you were opening that bag of chips that I specifically told you not to open....did you hear anything in your heart?"  He nodded.  "George, that was God!  What did He say?"

George answered quietly, "He said I probably shouldn't do that..."

"Buddy!  That was God!  He DOES talk to you...but your job is to listen to Him.  We all have to PRACTICE listening and then DOING what He says.  God is with you when you are tempted..and He is guiding you.  Practice listening to His voice."

Oh, buddy.  We love you so much!  We shared with him how we ALL chose the "bad" things each day...we ALL are tempted to go our own way.  You are not alone buddy!  And God sees you as perfect...without sin...because of what Jesus did for you!  Do you remember what Jesus did?

"He took all my sin."

Yes!  And George...YOU ARE a GOOD boy!  No...you are a GREAT boy!  We all came around George and prayed for him.  I looked around the room and all the older ones were touched by this genuine display of remorse.  I think we all needed to see this tonight.

Then, fast forward to tonight.  We had just finished eating dinner and I went onto the back porch to read.  I came in to grab a glass of water when I found this cut-out circle of cardboard, with neat handwriting in black Sharpie..
..

Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself

Saw this on FB....had to share!
I advocate for orphans and for adoption. No surprise there! I do so because every child is, first and foremost, a child of the King, whom I love; and second, because I have a voice that can be used for those who can't speak for themselves, even as I would pray someone would do for my own children if they needed an advocate.

So for those who ask questions: why do you try to help the 1) disabl...ed child,2) the sick child, 3) the foreign child, 4) the older child, 5) the child from a broken system or institution

or make comments: 6) I could never love an adopted child like I love my own, 7) I am nervous about what an unknown child may be like, 8) I’m glad he/she is not my son/daughter; 9) Adoption is not an option I consider

Here are my replies:
1) Because Jesus first loved me.
2) Because Jesus first loved me
3) Because Jesus first loved me
4) Because Jesus first loved me
5) Do you see a pattern here? BECAUSE JESUS FIRST LOVED ME!
6) Check the condition of your heart! And consider this: Do you love your spouse? They aren’t biologically related.
7) None of us are perfect, no not one. We are all broken, but redeemable! Truth is, biological children are not perfect AND they are unknown to us. But all of the children are known to God!
8) I’m glad, too, because God has a plan, one in which He always knew who would belong to whom. My boys are mine, they were not intended to be yours.
9) If you are one of God’s dearly loved children, adoption is your reality because you were adopted into His family.

Enough said! I will talk with ANYONE about adoption or caring for orphans if that ANYONE is open to hear truth.

Please don’t feel sorry for me for being “only an adoptive Mom” or judge me for advocating for children you are uncomfortable about. I live in the joy of God's plan for my life, loving my husband and children with all my heart!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Theme is Emerging

Twice this week.  And it's only Wednesday. 

Twice this week I have listened...and listened....and listened as single moms told me their story.  And my heart broke as they paused, not able to talk anymore, and simply cried.

I told a mom today, "I have a family who would love to meet you, talk with you, have you over for dinner.  They might be able to take your kids for a few days so you can just have a little time to breath."

She sobbed....and then finally asked, "There are really people out there like that?"

I am convinced more than ever that GOD SEES.  He sees the single mom who is weary and desperate.  And then, he sends in His children to love them.

This mom was married...until they got pregnant with their second child, and their teenage son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The tumor was removed through surgery, but it left their son an infant.  At this point, husband leaves.  Can't take it. 

Stops working so he won't have to pay child support.

Mom nurses her teenage son back to health, and then works daily to rehabilitate him.  Teaching her teenage son how to dress himself, how to brush his teeth...even how to say, "I love you, Mom."  All while pregnant.

She works a full time job.  So when she applied for child-care subsidies, they state replied, "You make $83 a month over our limit.  If only you didn't work a full time job, then we could help you."

The hits just keep on coming.

And then, someone begs her to call me.  I don't know who it was..but it surely was God.

Tonight, right now, she is talking to her new Family Friend.  A loving, Christ-following family who want to pour out love and grace onto this woman. 

Unfortunately, this is the theme that happening over and over and over again across my city..your city...every city in the US.  Modern day widows, left by their husbands, often with no parents to teach them, guide them, love them.

And here is where the Church steps in...or should step in. 

I long for the answer.  How do we minister to these women and children?  How do we help them move from despair to hope?

My heart is overwhelmed.  That is a song I love right now.  But, the song writer is singing of how his heart is so overwhelmed by the love of Christ.  Knowing all that Jesus did for us..in His life and in His death...our response should be one of being overwhelmed by His grace and love.  But at times since moving to SC, my heart is overwhelmed with heartache.  I cry over these women because I just hear how lonely and desperate they are.  There have been more than one occasions in which I burst into tears driving home from talking to these broken moms.

I want to help them all. I want to love them all.  I want to find families to love them all. 

The fields are white.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Creek Stompin'

I grew up goin' creek sompin' at my great aunt's house every summer.  I have always loved hitting the great outdoors with my kiddos.  Saturday, we discovered this amazing spot on the Reedy River that is minutes from our home, yet feels like we are in the middle of the forrest.  We had a blast...and so did Gunnar!



I have never knows a GSD who loves water more than Gunnar!  He had a great time...and cooled off quite a bit!



We all ended up very wet.  We lost one flip-flop permanently and we saved one flilp-flop.  Next time...we wear bathing suits and totally commit to getting in. 
 
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