The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chosen Marathon

We (Jeremy, his mom, two good friends and me) participated in the Chosen Marathon (1/2 marathon for us!) today--a marathon that is specifically for orphans around the world to find forever families.  Running with 1500 people who all were running for someone impacted by adoption was.....

I wanted to ask everyone I ran with to tell me their story. 

Who were they running for?

I saw pictures pinned to runner's backs and posters from cheering spectators with their kids' photos and it was! 

I don't really know if you can get much closer to God's heart than when you take care of the fatherless.

Today I felt like we were running with the heart of God.

Monday, October 10, 2011

¿Me acompañas?

Will you join me? 

We heard this question a million times when the kids were here.  The youngest asked it every time he wanted to do something, try something new, or even go into another room.  Looking at his eager face, his curious green eyes, and sweet voice---these became my favorite words.

¿Me acompañas?

I heard those words before from our God.  When we first got the email just before a weekend away together. 
I can tell you what I am learning about saying yes.  Recently, Jeremy and I participated in some triathlons and we had the whole weekend to ourselves.  (sigh)  The day we headed out, I got an email from a friend who shares our love for the orphan.  Orphan Hope International was looking for families to host about 17 orphans from Colombia.  They would be coming to the States for 3 weeks this summer in hopes to connect with forever families. 

These kids are close to aging out.

As I was on the bike (my 2nd least favorite part of the tri, the swim being my least favorite), I was thinking

shoulders down, butt back, cadence high....

AND about all the opportunities around us to love kids who do not have moms and dads.

We had recently talked about "when do we say no?"

And we are finding that for us, at this time, as we see opportunity around us (right here, right now), as we wait on the Lord, as we plan our next Rwanda mission trip, as we start a new chapter with homeschooling, as we seek His face, to know His heart more, and desire to follow Him...

we can't say no.

We will say YES. 

YES to whatever. 

And let Him say "No."

This is not the final part to "Saying YES"
It is still being written.

¿Me acompañas?

Between April and July we had minor paperwork & training to complete, and I remember putting on our application we would host up to 3 kids.  We soon received a call from one of the directors because there was a special situation with a sibling group of 4 kids between the ages of 5-12.  Evidently, we were the only host family that said we would take more than one or two kids.  Jeremy got the call and said he would check with me first, but he already knew it would take half a second for me to say yes.

Really, what's one more?

¿Me acompañas?

My thoughts the day we found out their names.....
June 5
Today we found out names and actual ages of the kids coming from Colombia with the vacation host program.  It means so much to know their names.  They are not just orphans from Colombia anymore.  We had a very informative and wonderful meeting with a representative from Colombia.  I am so thankful to have had that meeting and I gained new understanding....understanding of the perspective of the kids and the workers who long for every child to have a forever family.
Now I can pray for them by name.

and when I saw pictures of them the first time...
June 15
Today we received an email with pictures of the kids.  I was so excited to see their pictures.  Before I opened the email I wondered if I would be looking at the faces of OUR children.  Jeremy had thought about the same thing.  I noticed the language in the email said, "Pictures of your kids!"  Your kids.  That popped out at me and sunk in.  Were these my kids?
As I looked at each picture, I began to have mixed emotions.  I have this faint feeling of sadness and I don't quite know how to explain it.  I studied their faces.  I looked deep into their eyes.  I began to ask, "what's your story?"  Each one looked different, had unique features.  Each one beautiful.  I don't know why, I don't understand why I do this, but I looked for characteristics in each one that were similar to my family.  Why do we do this??
I can't wait to meet them!  Can't wait!

¿Me acompañas?

And I saved the best for last.  The night Jeremy and I talked about these kids and the "A" word in one conversation....
June 9
Lately we have been staying up too late and getting up early.  So tonight Jeremy comes to bed late and just before he gets in bed he says he wants to tell me what he thinks about the kids coming over from Colombia.  We know their names, but we have not seen pictures, and do not know any history yet.

He really kinda surprised me.  First of all, that he initiated the conversation was amazing in itself.  And more so because of what he shared.  I hear him begin with, "I think we may adopt these kids."  I got that feeling that I had back in 2006 when he said he really wanted to pursue adoption and wanted me to check out a couple agencies.  FEAR.  It's weird because all this time I am dreaming, praying, hoping, and wondering where our next kids are, and when he says something that means we move forward, I am like,

"REALLY?  Are you sure???"

I am quiet as he reveals his thoughts.  He asks if I am asleep.

Uh, NO.
I just don't want to interrupt.  I want to hear what HE thinks.  What he REALLY thinks. 

So he goes on to say that he believes we COULD adopt these kids AND other kids too.

(what? other kids too?  that's like enough kids for our own soccer team!)

Fear begins to turn into awe and then excitement.

He continues...."What's really important?  Am I going to say no to adoption because I'm worried about how we will pay for college, weddings, quinceaneras??  Will we change how we spend money and what we "store up?" 


"The bottom line is that our treasure is in Heaven.  What's more important?  Storing up treasures on earth or having the PRIVILEGE of being the parents of these 4 kids?"

(and you thought just I was crazy)

¿Me acompañas?

That's the question we heard again the week after they left.  God asking us, "Will you join me?  Will you really trust Me?"  That week after they were gone, as we were silent and seeking Him, we heard Him asking that question and asking us to lay down our dreams, our plans, our future.

As I look into His face and listen to His sweet voice through His Word, I think what a privilege to be asked to join Him.  How merciful and gracious He is to us! 

¿Me acompañas? 
These have become my favorite words.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where are we?

Still here!  I'm coming up for air.  We are still swimming in paperwork but I can see the transition area ahead (If you are not familiar with the triathlon, you have a transition area that you go to after the swim.  And then again after the bike.  It's where you get your bike and your running shoes.)
 (my first tri in 2008)

(Emily's first tri)
This adoption process feels kind of like a tri.  I have never done an Ironman (and really don't plan to at this point in my life) but I have done an Olympic and QuarterIron.  And I can say about both that it takes training, endurance, strength, perseverance, flexibility, and determination.  These same qualities I need as we navigate through the process of bringing 4 more kids home.

It's really kind of funny to see the look on people's faces when they find out we are adopting 4 kids....and that we already have three.  Mouths usually drop, eyes grow larger, and we either get, "Wow, you are crazy." or "I'll be praying for you" or "Wow, God is good."  That's my favorite.

God is good.

So why four more kids?  Why these kids?

You have to look back over my blog to see how God has moved.  Like when He showed me this verse last November
I Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you...
And last January I wrote about how I missed the son we do not know yet...
Everyday I think about him.  I don't know who he is yet and I don't know if he will come with siblings.  But I missed him on Christmas day when we were opening presents.  I missed him at church the other day when we got there a little late and had to sit on the second row.  (can you guess what kind of church I attend?) =)  We were all sitting there, all 5 of us, and I looked at the empty chair next to Wesley...missing him.
In March I shared about BIG DREAMS and how I finally came to my homeschool decision.  One of the reasons I wanted to start homeschooling this year was because I knew adoption was on the horizon....adoption of an older kid, maybe a sibling group, maybe from another country, and I wanted to have a year of homeschool under my belt before trying it new with everybody....whoever that everybody might be.

God was working on us and showing us many opportunities right here, right now to enlarge our family.  And we just started saying YES (yes there are 4 posts to that story!)

And we let Him say "No"

And He did say "no" or at least "not now" to a couple of opportunities.

Fast forward to July when we met 3 out of the 4.  How the girls shared a room with Emily and Wesley shared a room with the boy.

How quickly we bonded. 

How easily we loved.

Jeremy and I did not talk much about it the first week they were gone.  We knew we would make a decision soon but we needed to let everything sink in.  The day I put them on the plane to go back to Colombia, I came home and went to bed at 6:30 pm. 
It was hard to say good-bye. 
I really hate good-byes.

After a week of praying and listening, we knew.  Jeremy said he quit praying, "Lord, is this the right thing to do?" because he knew it was the RIGHT thing to do.  He started praying,

"Lord, give me the courage to do what you want me to do."

Like when we read stories in the Old Testament of God speaking to the Israelites and telling them to do something and they don't do it and we think, "You idiot!  Isn't it obvious?  Hello--God TOLD you."

Anyone reading our story, how it started as God opened our hearts to adoption the first time 5 years ago, how he gently started nudging again 3 years ago, how He showed us we could love an older child just as much as an infant.  So we pray and ask Him to show us where our children are and home! 

How could we say, "Oh, no these are not them.  Show us where our children are..."

Hmmm this post is getting long.  I have more to share but I need to get to bed.  Thanks for checking in and I will come again soon.