I want to thank my many wonderful supportive friends for your kind comments and prayers. I feel very good right now, and I continue to rest in the grace of God. I also want to thank my parents for their constant support and love during this time. It means so much.
When I told my brother about losing my baby, he was sad, obviously. However, later he called me and said he and his wife would love to adopt a Haitian child. Dave and I would love to as well. Unfortunately, the process is not super easy right now. The Department of Homeland Security allowed Humanitarian Parole for Haitian orphans that were in process of adoption PRIOR TO the earthquake. It still will take some time to determine if the children that are in emergency foster care from Haiti are indeed orphans. The goal is to keep them in their families if at all possible. We will still continue to look into it.
Our friend, Mark, went to Haiti with a group of residents from Dave's program in Tulsa. I was really hoping he would bring me a Haitian baby in his carry-on. :) I kid...kind of.
Dave and I have always wanted to adopt. We still do. We are holding that open before the Lord and seeing where He takes us on this adventure. One thing that is important to us is to be debt free. I know there are varying viewpoints on this, and I am not here to debate it, but our goal is to not be beholden to anyone as far as money is concerned. This frees us up for giving and serving and adopting. Plus, we have a goal to go overseas long-term, and we don't want to have debt for that. I saw a stat from UNICEF that said there are 143-210 million orphans worldwide. That is 50%-70% of the US population. This is not an unachievable task. God is bigger.
We are open to adopting domestically or internationally. The way we see it, it doesn't matter so much where--just as long as we do it. Each child matters and is worth it.
I've heard people say in the past, "Well, you can have children of your own, why would you want to adopt?" Well, it is on the heart of God, so it is on our hearts as well. Our hearts have lots of room for children. We love our children dearly and desire more of them--why? Because bringing forth new life is a beautiful picture of what Christ does in us, the Church--He brings forth new life and makes us a new creation. We have cherished each of our children from the womb, but we would gladly cherish a child crafted in another woman's womb as well. We hold that before God and say, "We will serve You."
I truly do believe that if you follow Jesus, you need to be involved in caring for orphans--whether that means helping raise funds for others who are adopting, providing your home to foster children, being a foster respite worker relieving foster parents when they need a break, or adopting a child. There are so many great organizations to get involved with. One way Dave and I have cared for an orphan since we got married is through Compassion International. Our Rwandan daughter, Umutesi Constantine, was most likely orphaned during the Rwandan genocide in the early 90s. She lives with her aunt now, but we support her through Compassion. She will be 18 this year. She chose to follow Jesus last year. We hope to meet her one day and see her thriving because we supported her. We love how she calls us her "dear parents in the Lord". We really think of her as our own.
We have several friends who are involved in orphan care--one family in our town provides respite care for a foster mom. One of our friends adopted a son. Dave's brother and his wife adopted a daughter. Some friends in Tulsa are new foster parents, and another friend there is in process to become a foster parent. We have friends who adopted three daughters from China. We have many friends currently in the process of adoption--here are a few of them; feel free to support them if you can:
Mick and Gayla
Cameron and Jenny
Steve and Joanna
If you are in process of adopting and want me to add you to my list, let me know!
In other news, I am really enjoying my kids. We've hit a new stage, and it is so much fun. They keep us laughing most of the time. It is so great! Sam is learning stuff like crazy. He hit 5 and became a huge sponge. It is so cool to watch him--his drawings are amazing--especially the ones on the Etch-A-Sketch--his skills are far beyond mine, for sure! He is reading well. We're working on the necessary sight words. He's getting them. It was hard for him at first because he really wanted to sound them out. He's getting it, though.
Just in case you're wondering what I'm doing with him--last year, I bought a $15 Pre-Reading Hooked on Phonics kit at Target. It is great. It has three or four sets of flashcards, a CD with exercises on it, and books to work through along with a progress chart and stickers. I think it was the best $15 I ever spent. In fact, we are going to need more books soon!
Maryn is an actress. She is constantly re-enacting TV shows. She also tells Sam what lines he has to say. She is extra cuddly too, which we love!!! She is doing great on her letters. She still confuses a couple of them, but she's doing great. Her potty time is much better too. She seems to have gotten over the hump. I hope. :) She's still strong-willed (and will be forever, I guess), but our discipline really seems to be working. I can't say I adhere to any certain discipline philosophy, but I really love Love and Logic. It has helped a lot with her. She is also enjoying me teaching her daily tasks--like laundry sorting and folding sheets, towels, etc. She is a big girl.
Lucy is almost walking. She took a step last night. She gets so proud of herself. We love it! She babbles a lot. I know she wishes she knew more words--she gets frustrated sometimes. She knows some signs, but she won't use them. About 2 weeks ago, I started her on a high-caloric diet to beef her up. She was doing great until we transitioned to food. She really struggled with the transition, and her weight was affected. She's doing much better now, and I hope with this diet she will pack on the pounds! Do pray with us about this. We really want to see her gain some weight in the next 3 weeks. She's only nursing morning and night now. We'll see if she nurses as long as Maryn (17 months). She is so cute. Seriously. The cutest baby on the planet=my LuLu. She is so affectionate, and she is getting better about going to other people. She is trying to drop her morning nap. Already. Sam did the same thing, but he did it at 11 months. She still has quiet time in her bed in the mornings, and it is good.
I am so thankful for my sweet little family. I love each of them and how God is growing all of us. My biggest struggle is my house. I just don't like to clean. I'd rather play with the kids or read a good book! However, I really am trying to bless my family and bring peace to our home, so I am trying to keep it looking nice and clean. But, I still may hire someone to help with the harder stuff that I don't seem to have time for.
Well, if you made it this far, you are truly devoted to me. I appreciate it. Once again, thank you, my friends--the few of you who have stuck with me over the last four years of my blogging. I love you and appreciate your prayers and support. I am blessed.