His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"Life Is Pain"

"anybody who tells you something different is selling something".


Well, I bet you can guess what THIS post is going to be about! 

                                 LIFE!!!

Life is ongoing for our little family just as it is for yours!  We have been busy living it!

We are also busy recovering from some VERY painful experiences that have happened.  There are just 4 of us left at home as all girls are adults and off living life!  Each of them knows they are loved and cherished.  Each of them are unique and special in their own ways.

And then there is me..... When I started this blog back in 2007, I was full of excitement and hope, fear and trepidation all rolled into one as we explored our experiences together.  There was so MUCH to learn about adoption, language aquisition, parenting kids from hard places, being a grand mother, (Ya Ya for me).  I wanted to capture childhood joy, and the experiences to save a memoir for our girls. Long before blogging, there were things written down in journals, but they aren't the same.  And I wasn't as faithful to write things down about the guys.  Blogging has helped me with parenting children who have come from very hard places by writing about our experiences. They are dated and when something comes up, I can go back the year before and see if we are repeating something.
But one of the things about blogging is that it is important to be honest and not paint a false picture.
I have strived to do that.

The thing about life is that it is messy.  There isn't this perfect life that is all wrapped up in a neat little package at the end of each blog post, or each day.   The daily act of loving another human being can be full of joy and full of sorrow.

The last 4 years have had wonderful times and more sorrow than I ever dreamed possible.  I am reminded that our dear Savior was a "man of sorrow, acquainted with grief."   HE bore OUR shame and took upon Himself our wickedness, our sin and carried it for us.   AND he carries OUR burdens, if we let Him.

I have a tendency to give my burdens to the Lord, and then sometimes take them back, and realize that I REALLY DO need to give them completely over to God.  It is so freeing!

As a mom you want to love all of your children well, listen to them well, understand them well, and sometimes we fail, especially when we are in the midst of working through our own  grief and trauma.

Some of our children are better at expressing themselves than others.  Some will come to us and talk, talk, talk, and then others of our children are quiet.  They have a harder time expressing pain and sorrow or even expressing that you have not listened well.
AND I NEED TO BE SENSITIVE AND REMEMBER THAT! A quiet spirit doesn't mean there isn't something going on internally.

Each of our children will suffer grief from difficulties in life.  We need to take that time to LISTEN and not try to FIX; Listen and not assume and then, pray.  Pray for wisdom for your precious children.  Pray for wisdom for yourself.  And when you FAIL, which we all do, ask for forgiveness for not taking the time, or for being too self focused.

Remember also, that we are but dust, flawed and imperfect in every way.  Yet GOD loves us with an unconditional love, and moves in our hearts to conform us to HIS image.... one part at a time.

We are in a place of two of our girls living at home and going to college, exploring relationships and experiencing LIFE as young adults. 
They tell us we are old... but we have a secret.... :)    We LIKE planting flowers and fixing things up. :)

I sat down the other night to talk with one of our girls and she disclosed that she didn't feel that I had been listening well to her.  She didn't want to burden me with her thoughts, as she felt I was already burdened enough.
That was crushing to my heart.  As we were talking, which was a GOOD and much needed talk,  I told her how sorry I was that I had NOT been listening to her like she needed me to.
She needs SLOW, methodical time.  She cannot be rushed.  And she had felt rushed and looked over.

Interestingly, I had a similar conversation with one of my sons a couple of years ago,  when he said, "You don't ask how we are doing anymore." "We want you to ask us how we are too! " This was during a very difficult time, and he was right.  I was too sad to look up, and I was too self focused, missing out on the joys that were ongoing; I guess I'm a slow learner.

We are ALL healing, and this is another step in that direction.  Mom, Dad and Me books are back out and in use.  I don't want to miss an opportunity, and some things are just so very hard to talk about face to face.
Precious girls. Precious boys.  ALL of them grown up!

Joy is so much more joyful because of overcoming the pain.  We wouldn't know how blessed we truly are if we didn't experience the other side.

Stay tuned....







Thursday, May 3, 2018

Twelve Years with Erika

Can you believe it has been 12 years since we brought Erika home?  I can't!  That little nearly 8 year old girl who was so tiny, so brave, so ready to have a family, has turned into a lovely, beautiful young woman.  She has blossomed soooo much!

She has continued to bring us joy and is working hard at life.  She still loves photography, is attending college as a psychology major, drives,  and is as witty as ever.

Here are a few pictures from our early adoption days:
The earliest photo we have of these two.


The steps to her orphanage.
taking a walk
Lining up

Her very first french fry.




giving a gift and getting a kiss!

 Ready to leave
Saying good bye
back to Kyiv

On the airplane
The reunion



















 Finally home and Dabba left 3 bunnies!



And more recently:










UPCOMING EVENTS

Both Sarah and Erika are finishing up their college semesters and ready for a full Summer! 
Sarah will be going to Haiti this summer and working with our sister church.  When she comes back, she will be volunteering at the camp both she and Erika used to attend as campers.  She is also planning to volunteer at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

In the fall, both She and Erika plan to go to Ukraine. She didn't go last year and was apprehensive about Erika going.  But now that Erika has gone and come back safely, she is going to go with her sister this year. :)

Erika is busy working and will also be volunteering at camp. 

These are the two girlies left at home. :)

Me, I'll be busy writing, and working with our face book support groups.  I'm also working at the shoppe with Mike.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Post Placement Reports and More


Well, the day has come.  We finished sending in all of our post placement reports to Ukraine.  Every few years a report is required, with photos.  Our reports have always gone to the D.C. consular's office.  The reports are due on the Month that the children were adopted.

The form is VERY EASY to down load and fill out.  Unlike Russia, Ukraine does not require an agency letterhead, or apostille or notorization. 

Our last report was a little late.  I wanted it to be special.  There is room on the report to write how things are going with your child, and I wanted to tell Ukraine how thankful we have been for our sweet girls.  They have blessed us so very much as they came home and have grown into strong, beautiful, confident young women.  I am so very proud of them.

They would not have had the opportunities in Ukraine because of their physical disabilities.  But today, they attend college, drive, have friends, go dancing, teach a college girl's bible study, and are interested in Missions work.

Erika went to Ukraine last year, and this year, both Erika and Sarah are planning to go to Ukraine.
Sarah is also going to Haiti this year, and both of them volunteer at the camp where they were ministered to all those years when they were younger.

Our adoption journey has been one of tremendous blessing and tremendous heart ache.... And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

We have been so very blessed with all 8 of our children. 

We have learned of God's grace and mercy in our lives, in very living and practical ways, not just through reading.  It has been a daily experience.  We have learned to trust HIM when we didn't know where to turn.  We have learned how truly weak we are outside of Christ.
We have learned that not ONE MINUTE of the lives we have shared with our children has been wasted.  Each and every day, the mundane, the exciting, has been a piece in the puzzle of life for them.  Those little lessons of teaching about love and forgiveness, about how to care for a chicken or a goat, or a dog, has placed another piece of their little hearts back together.  And today, they are able to love.  They KNOW they were loved and ARE loved.
Oh what a blessing that is to my heart.

Erika and Sarah are in college. Erika lived in the dorms for a year and then came back home.
Sarah and she plan to move into the dorms again next year together with a couple of other close girlfriends.
Erika has a very special young man in her life and she works for  an Affirmative Action compliance company. She is a psychology major.
Sarah is busy BUSY....She is working at a restaurant and is an accounting major.

Our other two girls are not at home, but they are in contact.  Stevie is now in Nevada and is a mama.
Her little baby boy is adorable and she is learning to navigate motherhood quite well. :)
She adores her baby and just as she used to snuggle those chickens (we called her the chicken whisperer)  she loves her little one. 

Alli is living close by and we talk or go to lunch.  She is working full time and loves her job.
The girl who used to throw away her money, now counts money! :) 
She is raising a little puppy that she adores and has a boyfriend.

Our sons are all doing really well.  Chuck is still working on his music and he is now a manager at the medical supply company he works for.  Timothy is teaching.  Joseph is an adjunct Philosophy professor and is on his last leg of getting his doctorate degree, Marcus is an accountant.
We now have 13 grand children between the ages of 21 and 2 months.

And Me?? 
Well, I'm finishing up editing... I had to take a pretty long break to meet Miss Alli's needs.  And another book or two  is in my head for follow up.  I feel like we have lived another whole lifetime since I finished my first book... :)
I am working with Mike in the auto shoppe.  It is so strange when change happens.  Going from being home all the time and educating the children at home, to working full time with Mike has been a process.  That adjustment time has taken a while! :)  
But I have a really nice boss who gives me time off to take care of the grands when needed and to take a nap if needed. :) 

I wanted to end this with a HUGE thank you to Ukraine for giving us the opportunity to raise our Girls, for Russia for helping us complete the process of readoption in Russia and being very helpful with the process of paper work, and to the USA for letting us raise our little Oklahoma girl.

And I would like to thank our Social Worker Kathi, who stuck with us from beginning to END... ALWAYS being available to talk, to  help, to advise and to share.  She is AMAZING.

If you are an adoptive parent, that social worker who helps you through the process is somebody you need to stay in contact with.  Do remember to update them on a regular basis of how things are going.
They are there to help you.

And now, all of our arrows are out of the bag..... I pray they will do great things for the Lord.
Their stories are not over and neither is ours! :)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It Was Like A Breath of Fresh Air

Easter Sunday was a wonderful reminder of the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He brings about NEW LIFE by breathing into us His Love.

After services, the gang showed up for an Egg Hunt and BBQ.  We had a wonderful time of fellowship.  The grand kids are REALLY growing up!  We had so much fun with family and friends. :)















 And this is what they looked like after we cleaned up! :)

You Are Still Holy

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