Truth

“Alicia, if I had been born in China, I would have been given up for adoption.” This truth my husband spoke to me a couple weeks ago took my breath away. But it is just that, it is truth.

Eric was born with partial hearing loss and later he lost his hearing completely. By many standards, he was imperfect. Eric wore inner ear hearing aids and one day, at age 3, he lost his hearing completely. At age 4 he had a cochlear implant, allowing him to hear when wearing his hearing aid. He is now in his 6th year teaching at a local high school and is working towards a job as a principal.

His parent’s fought for him every step of the way. They worked to give him every advantage that they could and never looked back; they drove him out of state to doctor’s appointments; they provided speech therapy for him and worked with him non stop on his pronunciation of words. He was perfect for their family. And I can’t imagine life without this man by my side.

It was this conversation, this truth, that helped us make our final decision about what our adoption would look like. We want to fight for a child in China. We want to come alongside them and give them every advantage that we can.

To us, the “perfect” child doesn’t mean one without physical disabilities, it means the one that God has picked out for us. It doesn’t mean the one who doesn’t need extra medical care, it means the one that God has called us to love and call the final piece of our family.

When talking about God’s love for us, I often describe it as an even greater love than than my love for my daughters. When my Emma, my oldest, was born, it was as though there was a whole room in my heart, that I didn’t even know was there, and that room was overwhelmingly filled with love for her. And God feels that, and so much more, about each of us. And He has now called me to feel that for a child that I don’t give birth to. A child that He has chosen to add to our family in a different and unique way. And, because it is all a part of his plan, it is perfect. Not without struggles, fear, and pain. Not ideal or easy. Yet, perfect.

This is our truth.

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Kindergarten

Kindergarten.

Who knew that a  5  almost 6 year old’s activities could cause such a tug of war on a Mama’s heart? I was mostly clueless. Maybe that explains my emotional state this past week? Sometimes it leaves me breathless, or with wet eyeballs, but also with a full heart. This is my tug of war.

Kindergarten; a time that you look forward to for so long, and then when the first day comes, it takes your breath away.

Kindergarten; a thing that you talk about, daily, getting your girl so excited for, and then your eyeballs get a little wet when you leave her there and drive away.

Kindergarten; a time when you are so proud as your child runs to the playground, almost forgetting to wave goodbye, but also so sad that they don’t hold on for a little longer.

Kindergarten; a time when someone else teaches and takes care of your kid, but also a time when you’re a little sad that someone else is teaching and taking care of your child.

Kindergarten; a time where you’re excited that your child has an opportunity, for the almost the first time in her life, to be Jesus to those around her who don’t know about Him, even the littlest ways; but also terrified that that is not what all her classmates are also hoping to be.

Kindergarten; a time when you pray more for your child then ever before…and then wonder how much you’re going to have to be on your knees when Middle School and High School roll around.

Kindergarten; a time when you get to see your child, with a bit of independence, with a chance to make choices without you there, and you realize that they are making choices that make you so proud and humble all at the same time.

Kindergarten; a time when you feel all the feels you didn’t even know you could feel and you realize your heart still hasn’t burst.

Kindergarten; a sad and happy time, all at the same time.

And we will make it.

 

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

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Don’t Miss It.

A dear friend gifted me a mug a few months ago, and it has quickly become a favorite of mine. It reminds me daily that there are things that are going to happen that day that I won’t ever get back. So, don’t miss it!

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This morning I had a gut check moment as I thought about this. Emma has been getting in trouble for lying a lot lately. It breaks this Momma’s heart every time it happens. Usually its about things that don’t even matter, and it can quickly get frustrating.

I found myself just wishing it away. Get past this girl, come on!

But, also this morning, as I was looking at my sweet Emma girl’s face I realized one thing..this may be one of the only chances I have to nurture her heart in this area. Don’t miss it.

I may not have another chance to help her realize that this is a heart issue and the only way it will change is if God changes her heart. Don’t miss it.

I was nearly in tears as I realized, I can’t wish this away. I can’t hope that tomorrow I don’t have to deal with this.

Rather, my prayer should be: “Lord, let this continue until Emma realizes what it means for her heart to change. Give me the words to show her this. Please don’t allow her to stop until you have changed her heart and she realizes it; until you have a hold on her heart and you won’t ever let go.”

This is my new prayer. This is my whole purpose as a mom. Don’t miss it. 

I don’t want to wish this phase away…I want to embrace it until she has learned everything she possibly can from it.

Don’t miss it. You won’t ever get it back.

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Little Moments

Some days, as a mom, I feel like I fail my two sweet girls. I spend more time disciplining and overseeing them than I do being with them. I get busy with laundry, dishes, and cleaning bathrooms. I breathe a sigh of relief when it is nap time and bedtime. Often in the mornings, I say to myself, today will be different. And I try to make BIG changes. BIG changes aren’t lasting changes though. BIG changes are daunting. It is then that I reminded that all I need are little moments.

Each day, I need a “little moment” with each of my girls. It can be playing a game of Jenga will I’m cooking dinner; it can be sitting on the couch reading a book with one of them in my lap; it can be a tickle match on the floor; and it can even be singing songs with the littlest one while she is on the potty trying to make pee-pee come.

It does not have to be glamorous, or BIG. Once a day, make the little moment with your child the one that matters the most.

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And, I’ve found, that most of the time, it is the little moments that are the best moments. It is the ones at the end of the day that I look back on and love the most.

 

So, I encourage you, today, to take time for the little moments. Make them a priority. Put down your phone for 10 minutes and embrace the uninterrupted time with your kid.

It really is the best.

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Embracing Change

Change.

Sometimes its hard. Really hard.

A few weeks ago, I posted this. In all my heart, I felt like God was calling us to adopt from Haiti. That is where our child was. We had chosen our agency. We were going to move forward. Then I found out that Haiti is so backlogged with their adoption paperwork, that most agencies were not accepting Haiti applications. And wouldn’t be for an unknown amount of time, if ever. Our agency was one of those that wasn’t accepting applications.

In the week since we found this out, we have made some pretty big decisions, which means there are some pretty big changes happening too.

First, the agency that we had chosen was a for sure thing for us. We wanted to stay with that agency. After looking at the different programs that agency offers, we decided that their China Program was the right one for us. And we are thrilled!!

Knowing that now, I almost deleted the adoption post I referred to earlier. How in the world can I leave something up there that says my child is in Haiti, when we are now adopting from China????

My goal has always been to write on this blog so that people can see the journey we are on. The whole journey. Not just the easy parts. The whole thing.

So yes, I thought we were adopting from Haiti. I thought that was right thing for us. But it wasn’t. God shut doors in a big way and, as hard as that was, it is a part of our story. It is what led us to China. It is what led us to realize how much we liked our agency. It is a big part of our journey. And I want you all to be able to see that.

To see the hard just as much as the easy; to realize that the journey to adopt is not black and white; to see how God will open and shut doors throughout the process; to see that plans change, lives change, things change, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t in control of each of those changes.

 

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Adoption News Today

Today I went online to our adoption agency’s website.. My plan was to start filling out our application.

Eric and I have felt called to adopt a child from Haiti and it is finally the time to take the steps to move forward. We have both been at complete peace since deciding on Haiti as our country and haven’t looked back…until now.

Part way through the pre-application, a notice comes up that Haiti is no longer taking applications for adoption at this point.

Um. What? Say that again. I immediately felt sick to my stomach…fear started to creep in.

Had we missed our window? Did we take to long to apply? Is our child going to sit in an orphanage forever because of us??

But, all along, I have felt at complete peace with the timing of every decision we have made. There are truths I have held on to, as promises, that keep me from stressing about the timeline, the planning…they allow me to let go.

 

So, today, that is what I had to remind myself…those truths are still my truths…

Outside of completely ignoring our call to adopt, there is nothing we can do that will ever make us miss out on the child God has for us.

His timing is PERFECT.

It’s not about me, it’s about trusting the call God has placed on our lives, and taking each step forward as He calls us to do so.

 

All along we have said, once summer vacation starts, we will dive into the application process. Today was the first day we could do that. So, I have to trust the plan He has for me! And for our child! Maybe its Haiti, maybe it’s not. Maybe we have to wait until Haiti accepts applications again? Maybe Haiti will lead us to some where else?

I’m sure this won’t be the first setback, the first thing that delays the process, and that’s ok. God has His hands in this, He is in control, so I don’t have to be. And that is where the peace comes from.

So tonight, as I lay here, sleepless, I pray for our child, I pray for direction, I pray for wisdom.

 

And that is where I leave it. That is the best place to leave it. With Him.
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Questions

I read an article the other day. Here is the link. It has quickly become a favorite of mine.

 

Many people ask questions, not even realizing what they are asking. They don’t have any ill intent, a lot of times, they just don’t know what to say. I know that, before I started this process, I didn’t know what to say. I knew there was the “right way” to say things and I couldn’t always remember what that was.

Is he your adopted son?? Or am I supposed to ask: Is your son adopted?? I know now, but I didn’t used to.

 

So, when I get asked questions like this:

Why do an international adoption, rather than domestic??? Why adopt from that country? What makes you want to save “other” kids rather than “our own”??

 

This is my answer:

 

Well, my child lives in Haiti, so that is why I am adopting from there.

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Kennedy Turns Two!!

My month of May felt completely crazy. I wrapped things up at the church for the summer, helped Hubs put the backyard in at the new house, tried to keep up with all the end of the year school activities at Emma’s school, and somewhere in the middle of that, have a birthday party for Kennedy who turned two towards the end of the month.

In my mind, I took myself out of the race on this one. I’m not even going to try to compete in the “do it all, do it well, over the top, homemade everything birthday party” race. Many times in the month of May, and in reference to KJ’s party, I put my hands up in the air and just told Eric “I’m out, I’m not even running the race.”

So, I didnt:

  • make homemade invitations, or even send out store-bought ones
  • make a huge spread for dinner for everyone
  • decorate the whole house
  • make an extravagant cake

Here is what I did:

  • sent out a text 9 days in advance letting people know when the party was
  • ordered chicken from Albertsons for dinner for everyone, and let my MIL bring a couple salads
  • picked out a cake from Roseaurs…did you know for a 2 tiered cake with filling it is only $13.95? This was my first time ever buying a cake…ummm why have I not done this before??
  • Bought balloons at Zurchers
  • Covered tables with butcher paper and let the kids go to town with crayons all over them.
  • Party favors?? The kids each got to paint a wooden letter and take it home with them.

Here’s the thing. Eric and I sat down, once everyone was gone, and we both said…”that is the best birthday party we have ever thrown.” No joke. The kids loved it. Kennedy loved it. She never complained that I didn’t make homemade invitations or that her cake didn’t take me hours that morning.

Sometimes easier is better. Sometimes I need to choose time with my kids over making everything look perfect. Sometimes I need to let go of my expectations and realize its not actually about me.

So, Kennedy Jane, Happy Birthday!! We LOVE you so very much.

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Words With Kids – Take 1

Kids say the best things, am I right? Hearing the words they have to say are one of the things I LOVE most about having children. Here are a few from the last few days with my girls.

1. Chocolate Milk///   Just this week Kennedy starting putting two and three words together…her absolute favorite combination – chocolate milk, please. Her reaction when I say no isn’t quite as polite.

2. Sunsets///  I don’t even remember what night it was, but we noticed there was a beautiful sunset and I took Emma outside with me to look at it. She said “Look Mom, God painted the sky!”

Yes, sweet girl. Yes He did.

3. Soccer/// I made the comment to Eric the other day that I think I would be really bad at soccer. I can run and kick a ball just fine, but I just never played, so I have no clue about the strategy or the game play that goes along with soccer. Give me a volleyball and I am all over it, but soccer has just never been a sport I’ve watched or played much…Emma heard our conversation and probably about an hour later, after she had thought about it a long time, says to me: “Mom, i played soccer, I think I could teach you how to play! We will do lessons in the backyard.” Now, this is most hilarious because of Emma’s track record with soccer….Let me give you a quick rundown…a. she sobbed her way through the first game, and never actually made it onto the field. b. her first goal was scored after she kicked the ball out of bounds, ran, picked it up, carried it to right in front of the goal, and kicked it in. We had told her the only way you can touch the ball with your hands is if it goes out of bounds…we will be more detailed in our explanations from here on out. c. when Emma played, they played 3 on 3, so usually 5 of the players were near the soccer ball, and then there was Emma. She would either be at the other end of the field, completely oblivious, or she would be running large circles around the group of kids with the ball…never really with the intention of trying to get the ball.

4. Bless You/// Kennedy just started offering “bless you’s” to people after they sneeze. Unprompted. It is just the cutest! “Bless you daddy” “Bless you Kennedy”…whoever it is, they always get a blessing!

5. The other night on the way to Bible study, Emma asked what cemeteries were. This led to a conversation about our souls and heaven and all the things. I feel so inadequate at times like this and I just pray that God can take my words and my answers and make them exactly what Emma needs to hear. That girl’s soul is something I’ve prayed for since the moment I found out I was pregnant.

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A Problem Solver…

There is this line that goes around our house…”Be a problem solver.” Yours too?? Oh good, we’re on the same page. This is something I want my girls to know. Don’t see a problem and stop. Try to figure out what you are going to do about it. Apparently it’s a lesson I needed to learn too.

About a year and a half ago, I felt like the kids in our church weren’t learning what it meant to serve. And I complained about it….with a little nudging from the Holy Spirit, I realized I needed to do the very thing that I tell my kids every day…be a problem solver.

Hello 2nd Annual Spring Training Mission Weekend!!

These weekends are filled different mission and outreach projects, devotionals, small group time, games..all the things. However, that’s not what I am here to share with you. I am here to share with you the moments, where if you were me, you would be looking at the situation and thinking, “really??”. All while keeping a calm, cool, collected, even excited expression on your face…unless it’s the one about sleeping, then you’re just trying to get warm, but we will get to that in a bit…so here it is…

 

  • Spring Training starts at 5 pm….I got a migraine at 11…like a eyes can’t see, mouth can’t talk, pounding kind of migraine…really??? Right now? Really??

 

  • I am all for donating things we no longer use/need to shelters, rescue missions, Goodwill, etc….however, there is no reason to ever donate your used underwear. Those, when you’re done with them, for whatever reason, they need to go straight to the dumpster. If you are really concerned about the homeless having underwear, the best thing you can do is go to the store, buy a new package, and donate those. Please, save us all from having to go through the bag of donations only to find that the thing that is between the rest of the clothes in my armload and my actual arm is your dirty underwear…Really??

 

  • I am actually quite certain it is not necessary to scream the entire 40 minutes we are playing sardines in the dark in the church. I think we could actually survive if there were a few pauses every now and then. Really! I think we would make it.

 

  • All the kids are finally asleep, I am preparing to man my post in the hallway, just mere footsteps from the boys’ room and the girls’ room. My sleeping bag, however is no where to be found. And I mean no where. I cannot locate this thing for the life of me. Luckily, there is a sleeping bag in our nearby prop closet…it is the size of a small 3rd grader and probably cost about $3 brand new. I mean I really think it says something about your sleeping conditions when, the fact that you are sleeping on a hard floor without any kind of mattress or padding, isn’t actually the worst part of said sleeping conditions. The best part of this though is that the next morning, I walk in our boys’ room during breakfast and what do I see laying there? Oh my sleeping bag, freshly slept in by a sweaty 4th or 5th grade boy. And, this is the next best part…right next to it is an unused sleeping back still in its stuff sack, which is where it was all. night. long. Really???

 

 

In all seriousness though, I would take these things 1,000 times if it meant that I also get to see the lightbulb click for even one kid, as they realize that it is choosing to love those around us with our little decisions each day that is going to change the world. And that’s not a pat on the back for me. The greatness is that Jesus shows up for our kids in moments like these and that is something these kids won’t ever forget. So here is to many more “really?!?” moments as God takes each of these souls into His hands and molds them!

 

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