Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Beauty in Challenge

I know I have dropped off the face of the earth. It's been quite the transition in our family. E is doing great but I'm exhausted. :)

In reality, we are always working towards healing for our children who have all experienced trauma in their young year(s). Our home feels like chaos sometimes and I sometimes wish for "normal" (whatever that is) but I am thankful that this is the journey God has called us, too.

I struggle to keep balance between wife, mom, homeschooler, dental hygienist, and whatever else. I long for organization and order and rarely have it. If you drop by my house, the dishes may or may not be done, the dining room table will likely have things on it, my pantry/laundry room will most definitely have the door pulled close, and don't even think about seeing the bedrooms. :) I remember what it was like to have it all clean at one time (I LOVE organization!) and every once in awhile it happens, but mostly we are in survival mode. Nurture is more important and so I might opt to read that story or have that cuddle or play that game or go to bed or recharge over getting every bit of housework completed every day.

So, we soldier on, we make sometimes hard choices for our family, and we constantly seek to love, understand, and care for our children better. They are a delight. We love them with all of our hearts. We are proud of the people they are becoming. Our lives and priorities have changed...for the better.

Our big boys will be doing presentations about our family at our co-op this week and I asked them what they wanted to share - P stated that he wanted to tell his class where each person in our family is from and what some of our traditions are (like celebrating the Kazakh New Year). My heart nearly burst as I blinked the tears back - he is [they are] incredibly proud of our diverse and unique family and it's his story to share.

And so, in the weariness and struggles, I grieve. And yet I so often see the progress and rejoice.

Thankful and blessed.


Sunday, May 05, 2013

One Life

This past week, I had the privilege of attending Summit 9 in Nashville, TN. The conference is put on by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO. This was the second time I have attended - we have Emmi. :) God used that conference to begin calling us again to adoption. While I did not come home this time knowing we needed to start the process again, I did come home with much conviction, encouragement, and many things to work through.

Perhaps my biggest take away is that I have ONE life to live. What do I want to have my life defined by? What is God's desire for my life? How can I make a difference? What do I do with the undeniable command of God and the knowledge I have? How does my (our) burden for children here and around the world effect our lives, work, and callings?

The other big, though not new, lesson was once again a clearer understanding of God's adoption of us. His plan of salvation and his adopting us (not based on anything we have done) was and is a model for adoption. It is messy and not easy but yet rewarding and life-changing. To hear that preached and taught challenged my heart, my ideals, my goals...again.

I am NOT okay with the status quo and with the "american dream" but that doesn't mean I don't fight it. We are, as a family, really seeking to know God's heart, His goals for us, His plan...not to say that doesn't include nice things (God gives those gifts!)...but that cannot be all we seek in life.

So...here I am.
One life.
Passionate about parentless children.
Burdened heart.
Loving God.
Thankful to BE adopted.
Seeking truth.
Called to make a difference.
Blessed mama.
Happy wife.

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 
Psalm 68:5-6

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10 The Lord will reign forever,

Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 146:8-10

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these aresons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slaveryleading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Romans 8:14-16


Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27




1“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.
John 14:18-19








Monday, February 18, 2013

SIX!

We are home and a family of six! I always forget how challenging the first weeks are. :) We are doing well overall though - just not getting a lot done! Emmi is perfect and beautiful and adjusting fairly well. If we could get some consistently good sleep, I think it would do us all a world of good! Here are a couple of pictures (picture credit to my sister-in-law!):

Daddy's Girl Already
The BEST sight after being away for 2 weeks! Love them so much and they are AWESOME big brothers!
All four of our precious gifts - we are seriously blessed!
Our family of SIX! So hard to believe!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Emmarie!

So, so excited that we will be meeting our daughter, Emmarie, a week from Monday!!! If you would like to follow our journey, you are more than welcome! We will be blogging exclusively on our adoption blog while we are away.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Special Deal

For two days only, I'm having a Pampered Chef Special Deal. We are so close to bringing our daughter home and my Pampered Chef  business has been a huge help with funding!

Here's the announcement:

As we close in on our trip to bring Emmarie home, I have a SPECIAL Pampered Chef by Alaina deal! This is for TWO DAYS ONLY - all orders must be received by 5 p.m. on the 10th! 

Place an order of $30 or more and get your choice of seasoning FREE ($4.75 value)! This offer is only available through me - please message me with the which seasoning you would like and I will add it to your order! Additionally, if you order $60 or more, you will receive a mix 'n scraper FREE as well as the seasoning! And if you order over $100, you will get a second seasoning FREE ($4.75 value)!

GREAT DEALS for a cause!

Have some Christmas money? Ready to revamp your kitchen for the new year? New recipes?...our seasonings are fabulous! This is the time to shop!

All orders can be shipped to me if you live locally or you may have them shipped to your home address! Don't delay order TODAY - only through me! Place your order at this link: http://pamperedchef.biz/alaina?page=host-search-results&showId=3977988

Thanks so much for making 2012 an awesome Pampered Chef year - I am amazed at how much we were able towards our adoption! So blessed!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Reflections

As we usher in a new year, I can't help but reflect on the past year. While it has brought much joy, it has also brought sorrow and challenges. A few things that defined this year:

- In January, a mere 3 weeks after visiting with my grandparents, my Grandma C. unexpectedly and suddenly passed away. It was harder than I can possibly explain - she was an amazing person whom we all adored. Emmarie's middle name is 'Doris' after my Grandma. I wish I had known we would be adopting again and could have told her!

- In February, we were contacted about an unexpected infant adoption (a bio related to Ty). We were very excited and welcomed the idea of boy #4. She changed her mind before we got far (and before we had shared). It was hard. We understood and we have a good relationship with her - we are happy that she was able to parent.

- In March, I visited my Grandpa C. for the last time. As he prayed over us and with us, I felt so blessed. God gave us such wonderful examples in our grandparents. They loved and supported and prayed for us always. We celebrated Nauryz with some new friends!

- In April (really right at the end of March), we KNEW God was calling us to adopt again and that we were not to wait any longer. We had four different possibilities fall through between July 2011 and February 2012 and weren't sure what to do. It became clear and despite our fears and hesitation, we took a leap and began this walk and journey of faith. Our first home study visit was in April. I also became a Pampered Chef Consultant - directly related to the call to adopt.

- In May, my Grandpa went home to Heaven. I still can't even type that without tears. I miss my grandparents so much. The loss of them was very defining in my year. Rarely does a day go by that I don't think of them. We also had our first HUGE garage sale towards our adoption expenses and were blown away not only by the success but by the incredible help and love of several friends - from donation gathering, pricing, set-up, take-down, and volunteering to work, we were blessed.

- In June, I celebrated my 33rd birthday. We worked on lots of adoption paperwork. Honestly, I struggled a lot in June. It was a hard month. We found out Calvin would be having major surgery in August - something we did not expect. We saw the face of our daughter but didn't realize she was ours just yet.

- In July, we enjoyed a camping vacation with my family. It is very rare for us all to be together and almost everyone was able to make it. We agonized over a family decision that was incredibly difficult. We also enjoyed our denomination's international conference that comes once every 4 years. It was fun to catch up with family and friends and the boys had a blast!

- In August, we turned in our dossier (all of our adoption paperwork). Calvin had his surgery (a palatal repair/correction to improve speech). He spent two LONG weeks on a liquid diet and four more weeks on a soft diet. We were very thankful for several friends who brought meals as he recovered and for many who sent cards and gifts - he was so grateful! He was a trooper but it was challenging and was right at the beginning of our school year. God unexpectedly brought the little girl we had seen in June/July back to us through our coordinator and we knew she was our daughter! We submitted our Letter of Intent and waited to be approved and matched with her.

- In September, we were officially matched with Emmarie! We worked to get in the swing of things with 2nd grade and with our classes. I worked hard as the lead planner for our annual Two Hearts 5K - it took a lot of work but was rewarding. We enjoyed seeing our dear friends for the 5K. This month also brought the unexpected move of my sister and her husband. They moved to CO - she is one of my very best friends and honestly, I just miss her a ton.

- In October, we celebrated SIX years of Calvin & Patrick being home - so hard to believe! We anxiously awaited our Letter of Approval but it did not arrive. We plugged away at school and enjoyed our classes. We worked football games on several Saturdays (Aug-Nov) to earn extra money towards adoption expenses - and were again incredibly blessed with friends and family who volunteered at the concession stand and others who watched our kids.

- In November, our family learned that my dad has Parkinson's - a very hard thing for all of us. We are still processing and working through this as a family. We received our Letter of Approval which was exciting! I enjoyed a great month with Pampered Chef. And I had a very stressful month at work. We also learned that we had been given a large grant towards our adoption and were completely surprised by the generosity of it!

- In December, we struggled with some health things. I enjoyed a second really great month with PC - a huge blessing towards our adoption! We worked really hard to get things ready for Emmarie. We celebrated Christmas with both sides of our family. We started really thinking towards travel and the logistics of not only adding #4 but of adding a girl and a toddler. Tried really hard not to be overwhelmed and stress - mostly failed.

That brings us to January 1. I'm still overwhelmed - we could be leaving in as soon as two weeks. I'm trying to outfit our daughter and pack for a trip that will be in two climates and get ready to add a GIRL to our very  BOY home. I have lesson plans and meal plans and childcare and house projects that really need completed before we leave - I'm plugging away at them.

We are thankful - God has sustained us through the good and the difficult. And God has directed every.single.step. of this adoption journey. We cannot wait to meet our daughter (despite the stress of getting ready :)). We know it will be an adjustment and we know the first weeks and months and year will have their challenges but, by God's grace, we are ready. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is ours - what joy!

While we certainly don't know what all 2013 will have in store, we know that we will grow - physically (well for the kids anyway! :)), emotionally, and spiritually. I'm looking forward to it. My word for the year is THRIVE. That is my prayer - that I would thrive in the various roles and situations God has for me and that our family would thrive with our new addition and that Emmarie would thrive in her new family.

Blessings to all of you as you welcome a new year!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Life

It's been awhile...

I've missed noting birthdays - my sweeties are getting SO big and definitely maturing.

I've missed writing about our forever family days - feel incredibly blessed to be my boys mama (we celebrated 6 and 4 years).

I've missed giving adoption updates - only here - you can find them on my other blog.

I've missed telling about the holidays - they were good.

I've missed blogging - life has had it challenges but I am thankful.

Soon we will be growing by one and adding our first daughter.
We simply cannot wait.
The boys cannot wait.
God has been so faithful and shown Himself to us in very real ways this year - through loss, through joy, through life.
Blessings abound.

It's hard to believe we are entering the Christmas season! It's one of my favorite times of the year. It's bittersweet this year as we wait to travel and as we very busily prepare for big changes. We are winding down the many activities and plan to keep life a bit simpler for awhile after we get home - Emmarie will have enough to adjust to with a new home, new family, new country, and new life.

Thankful for my sweet sons and husband - for real. They are amazing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Calvin Update

We are managing here on the home front. I'm thankful to report that Calvin is feeling much better and down to just taking OTC pain meds right before bed. I'm amazed by that. He is almost back to himself. These are all good things but require vigilance in making sure he is not overdoing it and keeping him restful as he heals. He is also (already) not thrilled with the liquid diet. He is a trooper and I do appreciate that I can reason with him. He despises the mouth rinse he must use (he can't brush his teeth) but endures. All in all, he has been a great patient and understands the importance of all the limitations.

We have been incredibly blessed by several of our friends bringing meals for the week - it has relieved much stress as we navigate this post-surgery!

The other boys have really struggled - especially T. It has made this week challenging. Thankfully, they have had a couple of days of activities away from home which keeps Calvin quieter, gives them something special to do, and allows me to get some things done. I do find that my patience is a little thin by the evening.

We are really just thankful for how well Calvin is doing - I honestly can't imagine going through the surgeries that he has. He maintains a great attitude despite not really liking the limits. We are all hanging in there even though we are exhausted. We continue to pray for healing and for understanding for the other two. They missed Calvin while he was away and don't like that he can't do everything with them. Warms my mama's heart to see the love and attachment between my sons.

Thanks for praying, checking in with us, sending cards, and bringing meals. You have blessed our family very much!