Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Mommy Wars and the Motherless

Hope it was a JOYFUL Mother's Day for you!

Isn't it nice to have a day to be celebrated? :)  A day to get extra hugs and kisses, sweet cards and gifts made by our precious children. Beautiful flowers from hubby and kids (yes, he ordered some all the way from Afghanistan).  It is a nice day to think about the joys of motherhood.  

There are many joys - thinking of their precious 'firsts', hearing their laughter, seeing them smile, hearing them sing praises to our amazing God...  

Sometimes the joy of motherhood is more like that James talks about in James 1:2-4 - 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Day in and out God is refining me as a mother through these.. trials...   Do you ever have those days or weeks when your precious children make one poor choice after another, when the defiance seems worse each day?  

I know God is teaching me amazing things through motherhood - it is not easy, not a cake walk, and there are no instruction manuals...  But WOW - what a gift - what a life changing gift.  All good and perfect gifts are from above. James 1:17 

This weekend was full of those ups and downs and refinements and lessons for us.  Saturday morning started with us all getting up on the wrong side of the bed... but the day did get better. :)

We went to my favorite place for Southern cook'n - "Fred's" (love it as it reminds me of my 'Ole KY Home).

Here are some sweeter moments of the day.

Waiting to be seated
Kiss for the lil' bro

Next we went blueberry picking which was fun and yummy!

Ended our day with the community pool. :)

Apparently I was bit by what they think was a spider while picking blueberries.  Unfortunately, the doctor thinks the pool water caused an infection and I now have a nice cellulitis on my left arm.  Lesson learned - if you get bit by anything - don't go swimming!  

The good news - urgent care was not very busy on Mother's Day!  :)  Thanks to dear friends I had some much needed rest time without the kids for a couple hours while going to urgent care, getting antibiotics,pain pills and sleeping.. :)  

Perseverance until lacking nothing.  Wow- not there yet, but God does provide me all I need... 
I, however, often lack trust in Him and try to take matters into my own hands.  Which often leads to the feeling that I am failing, questioning if anything I say sinks into my kids brains...  

I often fall prey to the "Mommy Wars" as they are being called...  You know the breastfeeding vs. not; homeschooling vs. not; vaccinating vs not; spanking vs not; working vs staying at home; "real children" vs. "not" (yes people say that)....  We are passionate about our beliefs and like to share them.  Unfortunately, there is oftentimes some mom who is feeling she is doing it all wrong because of these "wars".... 

What the "mommy wars" really are seems to be a spiritual battle to me.  There are sooo many things Satan uses to make us feel inadequate, to make us question our being and ability to be a mother. Get Behind Me Satan!  My God is bigger, my God is stronger.... What a blessing to be a mommy - to do what you feel God has called YOU to do!  To be refined by Him daily.  No other job has brought me to my knees more and required that I stay focused on Him, His word, His love, His grace. 

Sometimes I think Satan uses all these "wars" to keep us preoccupied with ourself, our issues, our pains, our shortcomings.  Instead of allowing us to think of and pray for ALL the MANY MANY children who don't have a Mommy at all!  They've never celebrated Mother's Day because they have no one to celebrate.  They have no one to tuck them in, to give them hugs and kisses, to pray with them.  No one to give them security, no one to kiss their boo boos, or cheer them on in life, no one who says, "I love you."  

I am so thankful for being a mommy.  I am thankful for my two precious children.  Thankful for the trials...well, not always, but  I will have joy in all that the day brings...  I don't always handle it perfectly and do have to apologize to my kids for my not handling things as I should (when I try to be Lord of my life instead of allowing Him to be).  It is a great example of why we all need His grace and His mercy.  

Meanwhile, I pray for the motherless and have that longing to hold my new child just like the longing I had to see and hold Aili and Ian when they were growing inside of me.  I would LOVE to be able to love each child who has never known love.  Obviously, I can't do that.  I will start by loving the ones God has given me and however more He decides to give me through adoption while praying that more families will be called to this journey and  "Be Brave."  


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How much does adoption cost?

Each country is different as to the cost of adoption, ranging from free (foster care adoption in the US) to more than $45,000 for some countries.  Adoption from China will cost between $25,000-30,000 (including travel). 

There are 147 million orphans in our world, only around 30,000 are adopted each year.  So, why should it cost so much money?  No idea...  Some of it goes to pay people who are working on your behalf (social workers, adoption agency, immigration office, etc), some is an orphanage fee (although, not sure how much of that the orphanage gets), some is for travel...    

Thankfully, we don't have to come up with it all at once.

Just so you know, this post has been hard to write, it has taken me weeks to complete. People, including myself, have very strong views on money and fundraising.  I quit being a brownie because of those girl scout cookies!  Love eating them though.  :)  It is not my character or my heart to ask for money or do fundraisers.  However, my hubby is deployed right now which makes the logistics of working difficult.  So, I have done fundraisers, yard sales, tightened our spending even more....  While still praying for God to give me a clear picture of His will for this process and the money involved.  God amazes me at answering those prayers!!  If you believe you will receive whatever you ask in prayer. Matt 21:22

I prayed daily for God to give me an answer regarding the money - how we'd come up with it, if this was His timing...  He said - "Trust Me, I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11), every day of your life was written before they came to be (Psalm 139:16)."  Not audibly, but wow - He couldn't have been more clear!  How did He say it? Through His Word and by providing a:
  • tax refund that will pay (when we get it) for the first payment we made to the agency
  • funds from a bake sale and referral check (received on same day as bake sale) from a fencing company that paid for our next payment
This last one is too amazing to put as a bullet.  

I prayed regarding whether God wanted me to work and if so how.  I didn't want to drive an hour to get to work; shorter day shift hours preferred so I can get the kids before daycares and after school closed; I can't work too many days each week as the children need me while Brian is away and I would prefer temporary as we get through this process and prepare for Brian's return....  Yes, I know... sounds very unrealistic. :)  

Well, God answers prayer and can do the unrealistic- just in case you were ever in doubt!  I got a call Monday from a company I had previously quit who offered me a job that I didn't apply for doing something I enjoy that is only 3 hours each day, 3 days a week, for 6 weeks FROM HOME!  Yes, God is AWESOME!!!  He is so A-M-A-Z-ING and I LOVE Him and am so thankful for His provision!  Does God want us right here in this adoption, right now - ABSOLUTELY!   

While fundraising is not my favorite thing to do (especially on my behalf) we had what turned out to be a very fun fundraiser last weekend for the families adopting from our church (5 families, 7 children, 3 countries). :)  It was a scrap booking/crafting party.  Wow- I had never seen anything like this!  These women were so creative and so focused on their books!  They even inspired me to do an online digital photo book from Walgreens - woohoo - one year down - lots more to go!!  We raised over $1400 that was split between the five families :)  It was a long day (9am-9pm), but so much fun that folks have asked if we can have another!

Let me introduce you to the Adopting Mamas at our church.

The ladies holding the pictures have been matched with their children and are anxiously awaiting notification to travel to them.  Starting on the left - Melissa is adopting a beautiful daughter from China, I am still in paper chase,  Sara is adopting two precious sons from Russia, Debbie is adopting two beautiful daughters from China, Billie is waiting to be matched with a precious son from our foster care system here. :)  If you look REAL close you can see some of the adorable faces. :)  I am so thankful for these ladies and the journey we are walking on together.

I have a challenge for you.  If you have experienced prenatal care and labor and delivery - look back and see if you can find out how much your doctor visits cost and how much the hospital bills were when you had your children.  What it would've cost without insurance.  Looking at your child now - would you have paid those bills (the total without insurance) for the wonderful gift of life and love your children bring?  My answer - yes, absolutely!

On the other side of the tedious paper work and the costs for the adoption is a beautiful child who wants and needs a Daddy and Mama, a gift of life and love...

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

There are many ways to be obedient to this - adopting, praying for orphans and for the families who are adopting and for more families to follow God's call, supporting those who are adopting or sponsoring an orphan, or visiting or caring for widows...  God has called our family to follow this by adopting.  How is God calling you?