Saturday, April 30, 2011

Holding on

I just read an amazing post written by Angie Hook, who just returned from Maria's country with her newly adopted daughter. Please read:

The Orphan Mentality

I have it. I didn't realize I did until Evan came into my life.
We were in the hotel room in Moscow and she was playing with some bottles of water, a plastic cup, and a few paper napkins. It amazes me how she can find a few items and get so much enjoyment out of them. She lined up all the items, then wiped off all the items, then laid all the items down. But then Clark held out a new item and he was across the room.
You could see her look at "her stuff" and then at the new shiny thing. She did this several times. Then the gathering started. First, she picked up the napkins, then tried to hold two water bottles, but she couldn't hold on to the cup. She placed them all down on the floor and looked at the shiny item in Clark's hand - way across the room. She tried again. This time in a different order. It didn't work. She sat down and again looked longingly across the room. She would not leave her stuff. Finally she picked it all up again and was able to get it all in her arms, but the minute she started walking, her stuff started dropping out of her arms. She would not leave her stuff. Clark said to her, "Evan it's just a stuff, paper and water. Come on over here." It didn't happen.

It bothered me that she couldn't leave her stuff to go and see what her Daddy had for her. Her desire to hold on to her stuff was hindering her and it saddened me.
It was at this point that God laid out before me that I too had the same problem. How many times had God asked me to follow Him, asked me to travel in a different direction, asked me to just come and I couldn't because I was holding on to my stuff. My stuff that I think is so important that I can't lay it down and see what my Father has for me. How many of you have missed a blessing because you are holding so tight onto your material things, a job, or a lifestyle - that it is hindering you?
If it saddens me to see how Evan struggles with this, how much more must it sadden our Father?
I hope one day Evan realizes she is no longer an orphan who has to fear letting go of her stuff. I hope the lesson that Evan has taught me will help me to lay down my stuff and go to my Father when He calls me.
This is a daily struggle for me. We have been used to cutting back expenses and budgeting for a long time now. But why do I still get obsessed with things?  I still see things I want and am so tempted to have. The Lord has taught me how to depend on Him for our needs and He has always provided, yet I still sometimes try to "prove" my ability to do it myself. 

Thank you Angie for this reminder to let go of the unimportant things and keep our eyes on our Daddy.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter photos

I know I'm a little late, but here are some photos from our Easter day celebration.

Our church holds our Easter service outside at the downtown courthouse and they create makeshift "classrooms" for the children. This was our first year helping in the classroom for Easter. They asked us to be in the Spanish speaking classroom and of course we agreed. I started talking to one little girl and asked her if she knew what we were celebrating. "Easter" she said. And what happened at Easter I asked. She shrugged. I asked her if she had ever heard the story about Jesus dying on the cross. "No". What? Never heard before? This 3rd grader- the same age as my daughter- had never heard about Jesus! So I asked her if she wanted me to tell her then or if she wanted to wait until story time. "Now" she asked. So we continued talking for awhile and I could see how she was in shock and completely trying to take it all in. It seemed so foreign to her. She hadn't even heard of heaven. Now don't you start thinking maybe it was my Spanish skills. She actually preferred me to tell her the story in English. Anyway, I ended up sharing the story with another boy who also didn't know the story. It was a very blessed time being able to plant the seed of God's love for them in their hearts.

Some of the children doing crafts

My daughter and her daddy help with hand motions during worship

On the courthouse steps

After church we came home and then my sister in law and niece came over to eat and hang out and have cake.
Finally got to open their baskets, since we woke up late for church and had rush off!

Happy 16th Birthday Naty!

It was a good relaxing day to share about all the Lord has been doing in our life: His miraculous provision of a house, providing finances when we've needed them and the family of God who bless us so much.

p.s. Last week a 9 year old girl named Katie asked people to donate money towards our adoption in lieu of a birthday gift and raised $150 and then another Katie (3 year old I think) donated towards our adoption on behalf of Kelly Dirkes' birthday. Love how the Lord uses His children.

Friday, April 22, 2011

GOOD Friday

It’s a GOOD day today.

It’s my niece’s 16th birthday: Happy Birthday Nataly!

It’s Kelly Dirkes’ birthday and she will NOT being doing any adoption paperwork today! She needs a break after finding out the psychologist made a costly mistake on her report. Pray that the Lord will provide the funds soon and it will not delay their adoption of Charlotte.

Isn't she a cutie!

It’s Earth Day: Thank you Starbucks for the free coffee!


It also is the anniversary of the death of my husband’s father.  He died more than twenty years ago, but he is not forgotten. He was my husband’s best friend and teacher. He was a beloved and lively singer/performer in Lima, Peru, before his untimely stroke and later passing at the age of 47. We rejoice knowing he met the Lord before his death and is now singing and dancing in heaven.

"Oh Jesus, I can't live without your love. Without your love, I'd rather die than stop loving you."

Until we meet one day, Pastor Zuzunaga…

More importantly, however, it’s the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God,  was crucified in our place, giving us total access to God the Father, forgiveness from our sins and freedom from death unto eternal life.

And that is what makes today a GOOD Day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Police station, cardboard houses and the King of Kings

Yesterday we went to the DMV to update our address and today we went to the police station to get updated fingerprints for our FBI clearance and Police Clearance letters.  (They are only valid in Maria’s country for 6 months). My daughter, age 9, said, “Didn’t you already do fingerprints, like, 10 times already?”  See, she gets it. She feels our pain. She sees all the effort we are putting forth, doing repetitive tasks. But she knows why we’re doing it and she yearns to meet her new sister. I really wish I could take her with me when we go. She would learn and see so much. My son wanted to know why we had to go to the police to get fingerprints. My best explanation to a 5 year old boy: so they know we're not bad guys.
Today has just been a great day. The weather is beautiful and sunny with a slight breeze. The kids decided it was time to turn the leftover appliance boxes into houses and castles. First we had to pull weeds out of the brick patio and clean up a bit. Then they colored their houses and I cut out windows and doors. I love that we home school and get to share these special spontaneous moments with our children.  I missed out on so much when my daughter was in public school! I don’t want to miss any more. My daughter said the only problem is that we don’t have enough boxes- we need one more for Maria!
Today we were reading in Matthew 21 about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I have heard many times how here the multitude was praising Jesus and following him and then the next week turned on him and were yelling out “Crucify Him.” But in our study today, something different stood out. This multitude really wanted Jesus to save them from Roman rule and for Him to be a human king. They were not embracing Him as their Lord and King of their lives and hearts. They never really understood who He was: the Son of God. I don’t think they really changed. I think all along they were the same.  I don’t think you follow Jesus and then un-follow Him. No, they were not ready to call Him Lord and Savior.  I think this example is not exclusive to Jesus’ time on earth. How many people call themselves Christians but their lives do not show a life following Christ? Are we really giving Jesus room to be the KING of ALL of our life?  My prayer is that I would follow Him with everything, not holding back, letting go of myself and letting Him rule in my life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dossier arrived safely

I tracked our dossier on DHL's website and it shows that our dossier has arrived and was signed for. Since our agency's office is in Arizona, it traveled from there to Ohio to Germany and then to Maria's country.

Next step is for it to be translated. It is really long so I don't know how long it will take to hear back from our coordinator with a travel date. I suppose we'll know in 2-3 weeks. Oh, we are getting so close! It seems surreal right now, but when we get ready to board the plane, it will hit me. I'll get the butterflies and sweaty palms.

We still haven't figured out where Maria will sleep. We are thinking about getting Diego a bunk bed and having her sleep on the bottom. But we have a crib that Gigi is still using that she could use if that's what she's used to. I am not letting Gigi out of that crib until it's absolutely necessary, though. She won't climb out of it, so I use that as containment when need-be.  I could put all three girls together, but I don't want to leave Diego out of all the excitement. Although, he would have to stop dumping ALL the Lego's onto his bedroom floor if she were to share his room. Or we'll have to move the Lego's.  I think we'll be able to decide once we've visited her and get to ask her caregivers questions about her habits and schedule and get to see where she sleeps.

We were outside yesterday and the kids were playing with the neighbor's dog and she told me there are about 4 Eastern European families in our little neighborhood! I hope to meet them- maybe they will give me some language lessons!  I seriously don't have time to learn, although it would be so helpful. I'll be trying to cram right before we leave- like exam finals!

We went to the free movie night at the drive in. It's the first time we've gone. I do remember going once as a kid- we watched Tron. Tonight they were playing Tangled, a Disney version of Rapunzel. It was a sweet movie, at times a little scary for my younger kids. Basically she was kidnapped as a baby and kept hidden in a tower. At the end of the movie when she reunites with her parents, I started crying. I put myself into their places. These parents had waited 18 years for their child and that moment was so intense. I immediately imagined the moment we would meet Maria for the first time. All this time waiting for her, these 3 1/2 years that we've missed out on. All that we've done to get to her and when she gets a mama and papa for the first time- it will be beautiful and intense and I'm sure I will cry again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blessings and more help needed!

We are slowly but surely settling into our new house. It has been such a blessing already, even with boxes and STUFF strewn about out of place. My back is feeling much better, thank the Lord and thanks to those who prayed for me.

The move also means that we will have to update many documents before we travel for our second trip (court appointment). Oh darn!  I thought we would be done with that, but no, I have more paperwork in my near future.

The Lord keeps amazing me with the way He works. We have had many surprise expenses with the new house and it has been a little stressful at times. Right in the midst of this stress, my friend handed me some money on Sunday for our adoption. Then on Monday, my husband emailed me to tell me he was going to get another (small) raise with a retroactive lump sum payment! This was completely unexpected!  God is trying to remind us that He gave us this house for His glory and He will work out all the details.

Then my awesome sister called me today to let me know she has a major fundraising endeavor in the works. She and her friend are taking up Maria's cause and are going to tell her story to anyone who will listen! If you would like to donate goods or services for this prize giveaway, please email me so I can get her your info.

I also need help with two other events I am planning: a family movie night and a 5K/10K run/walk. I am not a great event planner, so if you can help me in any way, I would be so grateful!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fly like a bird

Ok, people, here is the big news: Our dossier is getting on a DHL flight to Eastern Europe TODAY!  We are praising God, we are one step closer to getting to Maria. Our big ol' package of documents will be translated and then we will be registered as prospective adoptive parents. Soon after, we will receive a date to fly over and meet her- FINALLY!

Please pray that there are no delays in the process on their side or ours. We do need to get some documents redone because they are only valid in EE for 6 months and by the time we get to court, they'll probably be expired: FBI clearance letters and employment letters. This means get them, get them notarized, get them apostilled. More cost involved and not a quick turnaround since I have to wait 1-2 weeks for the apostille, since I have to mail them in- no I can't drive 12+ hours to Sacramento and back.

Praying that dossier over the sea: Fly like a bird!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I think I overdid it

I’m lying in bed right now trying to relax because my back is messed up. Too much lifting and moving heavy furniture and boxes.  It hurts really bad to sit. I went to see my chiropractor and almost cried it hurt so bad to be sitting in the car.  I was crying out, “Lord, help me get there”.  My son said, “How’s He gonna do that? Is he going to pick up our car and put us all the way there?” That spurred on a van conversation about how strong God is.  I love hearing my 9 year old’s perspective when she teaches my five year old about God. Anyway, my chiropractor says my back is a combination of stuck and sore.  He was surprised that I had such a big smile on my face for how much pain I was in. I told him that God has really blessed us with the new house and we were getting very close to traveling to meet Maria. Then he prayed for me (Love my chiropractor!)

On our way home, I was on the freeway and the car behind me decided to change lanes and then cut me off.  Ok, that’s not so weird, but then he just slowed down to about 60 mph.  Several cars then went around me and him and cut in front of him. He was happy to let them go.  I lifted up my hands as a gesture (don’t worry, I didn’t flip him off) to say “What’s going on?” and he waved back to me.  I realized that he was doing this on purpose! Not sure why, but I decided to stay calm and backed off and switched lanes so he couldn’t get the satisfaction (?) of playing with me.  Seriously? I don’t have the energy or patience to deal with some jerk when I’m barely able to drive home with back pain.

So now I’m home lying on ice packs and then when my kids are in bed I’ll go stretch in the Jacuzzi.  Did I mention how blessed I am?

p.s. We found the block to our bed in a bag in the girls room- hopefully Kike can get it put together by himself- I’m useless right now!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Big Move

Yea! Woohoo! We finally did it! After a month of cleaning, painting and much much more, we finally moved into our new house on Sunday. Thank you to all of our family and friends who helped us pack on the day of the move (not recommended- but had no choice) and were there to load and unload and even move a piano.

Then they all left and we had boxes everywhere! We've been trying to unpack and figure out where to put everything. So far, most things are going well, but we've yet to find the wooden block that goes under the center of our bed to stabilize it. We know it's here somewhere, but for now, our mattress is on the floor.

I emailed our agency today to get an update on our adoption. They are waiting for two documents they had to get notarized in Colorado which should be back by the end of the week. That means our dossier could be on its way to Eastern Europe by next week! 

We've got some fundraising ideas brewing and hope to reveal them soon! Thank you for praying for Maria and for our adoption process.