Thursday, August 29, 2013

They Said No

We had our home study and after 6 hours of questions on many topics the lady left with a concerned look on her face.  She called 10 minutes after she had left and said for us not to do anything else until she had presented our file to her supervisor.  I went back and forth with my emotions for the next few days. One minute I would think, "surely they would not let us spanking our daughter one time in the last 8 months keep us from adopting" and the next minutes I would think, "They are not going to approve us."  I talked to friends and family about how I would handle it if they said no and my mom said, "You can prepare all you want, but it will still be hard."

Tuesday afternoon, she called and said that the committee had pre-screened our file and decided that they were not comfortable with us moving forward with the process.  They gave several reasons, but the biggest one was our use of spanking as a form of discipline for our daughter.  She kept saying, "We are not saying you are bad parents," but I wanted to scream at her, "it sure sounds like it."  It was like a knife through my chest.  My husband was in shock and my daughter very confused as to why they won't let us adopt now.

We do not know what we will do at this point.  I know my emotions are all over the place - I guess I am going through the various stages of grief because one minute I am fine, then sad, then angry and then totally confused.  Does God want us to move forward with a different agency?  Should we just stop seeking to grow our family?  Maybe we are not meant to have anymore children in our home.  How could they not let a family who is willing to provide a safe and loving home to a child be able to do that?  None of it makes sense to our family.

It will take time, but I know our family will heal.  We appreciate and covet your prayers for peace and comfort because I know they are helping -otherwise I know I would have completely fallen apart by now.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Third Trimester

We sent in the adoption package in January.  I said it felt like when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, like "this is really happening!"  We went through the "pain" of getting the paperwork together, finding people to be references, finding somebody to be our alternate caregiver, etc. 

 Next, we went through the "knowledge" section of this process.  We took lots of classes to help prepare us for whatever child gets placed with us (although I don't think you can ever fully be prepared until it actually happens). 

 Now, we are in the final phase.  It really feels like the third trimester of pregnancy to me.  We are getting the house ready - painting the room, organizing, putting latches on cabinets, etc. I am definitely nesting and trying super hard not to be too nagging to my husband to get things completed. 

The lady from the agency is coming to our house this Saturday to do our home study!  It is very exciting and a little surreal to think we are finally at the end.  I'm sure after the home study when Lord willing they say we are able to open our home for children then it will be the waiting game, just like waiting and not knowing when your baby will be born.  We will be waiting to get a placement - unsure of when it will be or what gift God has in store for us.  Will our child be healthy or have medical concerns?  What will our child's personality be?  Will Lilly and the new child get along?  There are so many unknowns but I know God has it all under control. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

God Is Doing Something

God is always doing something, I know this!  Right now, I know He is up to something in our adoption process.  I am not sure what it is, but it is something.

I think I have been patiently waiting in this "lull" that we are in of our process.  It feels like for months every time somebody says, "How is the adoption process going"  I answer with the same thing, "We are just waiting on A, B, and C and then hopefully we can move on to our home study.

Just recently, I have been getting a little antsy.  We haven't gotten our FBI fingerprint results back yet, it has been over 2 months and most people get there's back in about 30 days.  Our contact at the agency has been e-mail those in charge of this to see what the hold up is.

We have been trying to get in touch with the fire inspector for over 2 months.  I have called and left messages every other day or so with no response.  Finally, I e-mailed our contact at the agency who put me in contact with another person and she sent me to a website where I was to print off an application and physically take it into the Fire Marshal's office for our county.  I was all set with the application and ready to walk out the door when guess who calls?  The inspector we had been trying to contact!  I try to set up a date and he informs me that I need a permit before he can come out.  We had heard nothing about getting a permit, so boy was I confused.  I try to call the agency, but nobody answers. I know they are busy.  So, I decide to go ahead with the application and see what the people at the fire marshal's office say.  Thankfully, I walk in there and I am the only "customer" in the building.  The ladies at the desk informed me that where I lived was in the county but it was also in the city of Houston so there office couldn't service me.  As you can imagine, I am starting to get really frustrated now.  One of the ladies notices my frustration and tell me that she is a private inspector and she would be happy to come inspect our home.  She also prints off a list of all the things that need to be done before she comes out to our house.  Praise the Lord! 

I don't know why all the hoops are necessary, but I do know that there is a reason for the hold ups in these areas.  I may never see the reason, but I know God does and that is the one thing that puts me at peace.

So we are moving along, at God's pace and knowing that He has got this!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cupcakes and Hospitality

A week ago, I went to this event at a local church where the speaker talked about hospitality and how it is not just a gift that some of us have, but a command given to all Christians.  Her challenge to all the ladies in the room was to have at least one person or family in the next 30 days.  I began to think of all the people to invite in to our home.  My excuse for each of these people was that it would be weird to have this family or couple over when my husband is out of town.  So, for the time being, I decided I would still practice hospitality but would take them something instead of having them over. 

Lilly and I made cupcakes - fancy ones, too - not just the ones from a box.  These were snicker doodle cupcakes with cinnamon icing!  They were delicious! I had decided I was going to take some over to a few neighbors.  I got ready to take 2 over to one set of neighbors and just before decided I would go and check the mail.  I am glad I did because I noticed that they had out of town visitors at their house.  So, I was able to call and find out how many visitors were there so that we had enough for each person.  The visit was short, but it was the first time we had been in our neighbors home and it was so nice to meet their out of town family. 

Next, we took a few over to another neighbor down the street.  We are getting ready for their pool and cats while they go out of town so we had to go over and get the information.  It was such a warm feeling to go over there with the cupcakes.  It's amazing how giving can make you feel so much better than receiving.

The next day, as Lilly and I were walking our dog, one of the neighbors came out of their house, in their pajamas to tell us how yummy the cupcakes were.  Another neighbor stopped us on the trails to tell us how great they were.  I am super glad they enjoyed them, and I am loving the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing connected with each of them in a new way. 

It is so amazing how much more fulfilling it is to give than to receive. We decided we are going to do that a little more because it did give us a warm, fuzzy give to our neighbors.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering...

It has been 7 months since we started the adoption process.  In my head we should be finished by now but there have been a few bumps in the road, and I know that it is just God's way of directing us to his time table and not our own. 

Back in May, my husband came home from his work trip and told me that the company was restructuring and they were letting lots of people go.  He thought they might have a position for him after they were finished moving people around but it turned out they did not.  He got severance pay so that was definitely helpful in covering out bills, but we knew they would not put a child in our home without either of us having a job. 

The agency that we are working with - DePelchin Children's Center - stated in some of their paperwork that if you had a "life change" you would have to wait a year before going through the process.  We really didn't want to start all over being this close to home study, so we sent an e-mail.  We told them we were confident in Mark getting another job soon and that we wanted to continue with the process as much as possible.  They said ok - yeah!

Praise God, Mark does have a new job now.  He will have to work a lot of hours during the training process but what a blessing that he will be home every evening.  I think this will be a great thing when it comes to adopting a child and of course, for our own sweet Lilly. 

So now, we are ready to go to home study to be "reviewed." Please pray that they find us fit to adopt and that our house will not need too many repairs in order to meet their qualifications. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ABC's and ACTS

Sometimes, in my life, I have a hard time starting my prayers.  I pray short prayers for people throughout the day as I think of them or if I read on FB that they are going through something, but when it comes to my quiet time with God I don't always know where to start.

These two things have helped me a lot.  I am posting them in hopes that they will be helpful to somebody else as well.

1)  When we were in Japan, I heard a sermon on the ACTS of prayer.  It is modeled after the Lord's prayer:

A - Adoration - showing God the glory and honor He is due "Holy is your name"
C - Confession - confessing our sins, forgiving others as He forgives you, asking for help in the areas you feel tempted
T - Thanks - giving thanks for your daily bread and your many blessings
S - Supplication - asking your desires, seeking Him for the needs in your life

Since then, I have also heard people add intercession - where you lift up other's needs/requests.

2)  At the beginning of the school year, I found this site with verses from God's Word for every letter of the alphabet.  It is for kids but both Lilly and I have learned the verses and memorized them.  We haven't made it to the end of the alphabet, but I find myself praying through them when I can't think of what to pray.  They are awesome verses that help remind me of God's promises and how Holy He is.  Examples:

A - Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.
B - Be kind to one another.
C - Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.
D - Do not be anxious about anything
E - Every good and perfect gift is from above.
F - For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith

Praying through God's Word, really helps me focus on talking to Him but also lets me "hear" Him as well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Change in Plans

Our original plan was to do straight adoption, they told us it would be more difficult to get the age child we wanted that way, but not impossible.  Then, we got a phone call that changed things.  The lady said we could not move forward unless we were willing to do foster to adopt in emergency situations.  She said she totally understood if we did not feel comfortable with that and wanted to close our account, but that we needed to think about it and let her know.  We were shocked and taken back!

We prayed, got others to pray and then we decided that God was not telling us to close our account so forward we would move. 

Now, we are going to foster to adopt with the intent to adopt.  The primary reason we didn't want to go that route to begin with is because of Lilly.  When I had mentioned it to her before, she said it made her very sad.  Since this change of events, I have had a chance to talk with her more in depth about it and it still makes her sad that they might have to leave, she seems to like the idea of being a big sister to a child who needs a safe home.

Next step, a few more pieces of paperwork (I'm sure it is more than a few) and then a week of classes for my husband and I. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Houston Day Trips

I read an article recently about a family who made it a goal to visit all 50 states before their children graduated from high school.  As I was reading, I was thinking that is pretty neat, we should do that.  Then, I got to thinking that I don't know that I want to visit every state.  Plus, with my husband's job he travels so much while he is working that once he comes home, he is in no mood to go anywhere (usually). 

So, I brought this idea up to my sister and she suggested that I just focus on cities in Texas.  I thought, "What a great idea!"  I mentioned that idea to a friend who suggested a book about day trips from Houston - even better! 

I have been researching some ideas and so far these are what I have come up with:

George Observatory
Shangri-La Gardens
Houston Museum of Natural Science - Sugarland
Brenham - Blue Bell Factory (we have already seen this but it is still on my list of things to do this year)
One Room Schoolhouse League City
Rusk Palestine Railroad - this looks like so much fun!
Matt Family Orchard
Kemah Boardwalk

Do you have any other ideas you would suggest?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oh, the Unknown!

We mailed off our adoption package a little over a week ago.  Now, we are waiting.  Waiting for them to call us and schedule our classes.  Waiting to find out what we need to do next.

In many ways, I think it is very similar to when I found out I was pregnant with Lilly.  After going to the doctor, I wanted to know what I was supposed to do next.  Everything was unknown. 

I didn't know if I would have a healthy child in the end...
I didn't know if the child would be a boy or girl...
I didn't know how the child would look...
I didn't know how the child would act...
I didn't know when the child would come...
I didn't know how we would provide for the child...

All the unknowns make me nervous but KNOWING that my God is in control gives me peace.  I know they will call at the perfect time and that I need to "cast all my cares on the Lord" and "do not be anxious about anything"

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Reminder from My Girl

We mailed the adoption application in last week!  We are so excited and nervous!

Since we started filling out the application, I have been praying for the "potential" child (or children) that will join our family.  Asking God to watch over the child and keep him or her out of harms way. 

Well, today I was praying for our future child and Lilly stopped me afterward.  She said, "You know, Mom, there are lots of children out there without a mom or a dad.  You shouldn't just be praying for the one coming to our family, but all the rest of them too."


As my husband said, "Out of the mouths of babes.."

So, as a reminder from my sweet girl, I will be praying for all the orphans out there tonight. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Need A New Schedule

Maybe it is because we just came home from vacation or maybe it is because I just don't know how to say no, but since I have been back it has been nonstop go, go, go!

Because it has been so busy...

We haven't had time to do schoolwork - I am not stressing too much about this because I know she is in preschool and she is learning no matter where we are; however, if I am going to make home schooling work for us I am going to have to get into a routine of setting aside certain times of the day for that purpose.  I know, I know that one of the benefits of home schooling is that you can do it whenever and wherever, but I am a schedule type girl and I need structure or it won't get done.

I haven't been able to fully implement her sticker chart for chores and rewards - Lilly has a chart that we use to reward her for doing her chores and to use as a reward in other areas also.  Currently, two areas we are working on are doing her chores with a cheerful attitude and going to quiet time without complaining or crying.  It is hard to have time for her to do her chores when we are always away from home and it is hard to have time for quiet time as well. 

We haven't had quiet time - She doesn't take naps anymore but we both still need some quiet time to just rest and be by ourselves.  Lilly doesn't quite see that she needs this time, she just thinks I want her to be lonely for an hour.  Each of the days that we have had quiet time, she has eventually had a great time playing with her toys and things.  When I tell her quiet time is over and she can come downstairs, she doesn't want to because she is having too much fun playing.

My cleaning time is out of whack - when I am not home, it is hard to clean the house.

So, because of these things (along with a few others), I have realized that I need to be home.  My family and my home are my ministry at this stage in my life.  I need to take care of it to the best of my ability. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baby Steps

Once my husband and I realized we were on the same page with pursuing adoption, then we both kind of looked at each other and said, "Now what?"  What is the first step?  We talked about what kind of child we felt would fit best in our family and whether we wanted to adopt internationally or domestically.  Our conclusion was that we would like to adopt domestically and that we would like for Lilly to be the oldest child or at least the oldest girl (a big brother could be pretty cool).  We know full well that God could change all of our "ideas" and bring somebody totally different into our family, but for now, this is what we have "decided."

Second step, find an agency or group to work with to help us through this process.  We attended an orientation for a group that works with helping to get homes for children who are already in child protective services - either through adoption or fostering.  There was some information that was a little eye opening for me - not being able to home school the child until the adoption was finalized was one and that you we were not allowed to physically discipline our own child while an adopted child was in our home or we could be in danger of losing all of the children, even our own?! 

We took the application home with us after the orientation and it sat on the desk for a couple of weeks. We prayed.  Then, finally, I was moved to pick it up and start working on it.  I was stumped by a lot of the questions and I almost immediately put it back down thinking, "how am I going to answer these questions?"  How do I put the way my family shows anger into words?  How do I explain the chore distribution in our house in a way that makes sense?  What would we do if a child was afraid of our dog?  How do we deal with nudity in our home?  Lots of questions to think about. 

Then, the documentation - health forms, references, diplomas, background checks, etc.  As of now, January 2013, we are just about finished with the first round of paperwork. It is exciting and scary.  I know that God is every much in control of this as He is in us having a baby naturally - either way it is up to Him whether we will have any more children or not.  So, when we send in the application with all the documentation it will go with prayers as well.  Prayers for God's will!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


When I was younger, I remember talking to people about certain events happening in their life and I would just kind of nod my head as if I understood.  I'm sure during some of those conversations I probably gave my input on what I think I would do in that circumstance or how I will handle it if that ever happens to me.  Honestly, I don't remember any of my responses, but I do know that I never fully understood until I went through the situation myself.

Examples of these experiences:

Being married to a military man

Experiencing a deployment

Moving and living overseas

Having a baby

Having a c-section

Raising a child

Buying a house

Experiencing infertility

Having a husband who travels a lot for his job

I know people who have never experienced these can be kind and offer advice (just as I did), but I think that until you actually experience it you never truly understand. 

Of course, I know there are many things that I haven't experienced that others have and so I am learning to be more careful with the words I share in these situations.  I want to be encouraging and helpful, but I now know that unless I have been through it myself, I just won't get it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Will I Ever Fully Get It?

Throughout the whole process of not getting pregnant the passed 3 years, I thought I had learned the lesson - I am not in control when it comes to having a baby..God is.  No matter how much I plan, calculate, etc God has the ultimate say so in whether or not we have a baby or not. Got it!

Or, maybe not...

Recently, my husband and I have been looking into the idea of adopting a child.  My thoughts:  "we are good parents, we already have one child who is smart and well-behaved, so of course they will want to give us a child"

We went to an adoption orientation for a local agency.  Our idea was that we would adopt a 2-5 year old.  The lady began the session by telling us that if weren't adopting a child 8 years old or older, a sibling group of 3 or more, or doing the foster to adopt program then our chances of getting a child the ages we wanted were very slim.

So, I began to think, "Maybe we should to the foster to adopt" "Maybe we should adopt older"

I am so thankful for my husband, he could see my wheels turning and he turned and said to me, "We will not be fostering any children because that would be too hard on Lilly.  We will fill out the application as we planned and then we will leave the rest to God." 

It was a breath of fresh air to me.  Exactly what I needed to hear, through my husband
God had to remind me that having another child - through adoption or biologically - either way, it is still up to God!