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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Going out for drinks

This weekend we had our first "date" in 7 weeks.  I am only calling it a date because we ran an errand just the two of us, no kids, and while out picked up a Dr. Pepper and Pumpkin Spice Latte.

We are certainly in the trenches right now as we have been home almost 2 weeks.  Keep praying and I'll have more to share later.....always a lot going on around here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is not our home

With the last update we were getting ready to come home. 

We are home, but in the last 48 hours some things have happened to remind us that this is not our home.
Phil 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
As we were checking into our flights Monday night, our backpack with our laptop and a few other things was stolen. Jeremy had JUST taken out our passports and Immigration documents for the lady checking us in.
NOW, I can't even imagine the headache and extra time that would have caused us to be in Colombia if our documents were stolen!
THEN, all I could think about was that ALL our pictures from our time in Colombia were gone.
I was pretty upset and Emily was sweetly reminding me that at least it was not a "living thing" that was stolen.
Yes, at least they didn't take a kid.
But I was still pretty ticked.
Matt 6:19-21
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and ruste destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We are home.

Tuesday morning we entered our house and had to step under the welcome sign, through streamers and found balloons, confetti, a warm breakfast casserole, stocked refrigerator, signs and notes posted around--

what a sweet welcome home!
(thank you dear friends who did that for us!)
We are home, but it's different.  We have 4 more bodies in the house and we are in this weird stage of being family but not feeling like family all the time...yet.
Two of the kids came home to a room that was no longer just their own.  Four of the kids came home and everything was new to them--it was like Christmas morning when mom and dad are exhausted and the kids are running from one thing to another in excitement, pulling everything out and wanting to play with it all.
Although it will take time for all of us to feel at home, I want to share a story about our youngest boy that made our hearts smile tonight.
Saimon fell asleep on the plane before it even took off from Colombia.  He woke up in Houston and every now and then he still asks, "Is this the United States?"
Tonight he asked again if we were in the United States and Jeremy said yes.  Saimon then asks if there are hamburgers in the United States to which Jeremy answers yes.
(he really likes hamburgers)
Jeremy then asks him if he likes the United States and Saimon said yes.
Jeremy asked him why and he said,
"Because here, I have a dad."
Eph 1:3-10
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
This is not our home, our citizenship is in Heaven.
Do we like Heaven?
Yes, because in Heaven, we have a Father.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We're still here

Good news--We received the visas today no problem.  Thank you all for praying!  This has been a busy and productive week and we can legally leave the country.

The problem is....we can't leave the country!  We have been on the phone a good part of the day trying to get home this weekend, but there just wasn't a flight that we could all get on and get home timely.  So we are flying out Monday night at midnight arriving home around 5 am Tuesday morning. 

I'm asking God to turn my disappointment into blessing.  We have 3 more days in our kids' birthcountry.  Three more days to soak in their culture, enjoy the cool temperatures, notice the beautiful things in this city surrounded by mountains.  Three more days to enjoy some food not easily available in the States.  Three more days to spend preparing ourselves for the changes--the blessings and challenges that will come as we are home.

Tomorrow we get to spend some time at the orphanage where our kids lived for 2 1/2 years.  We get to meet their friends and some of the workers.  We will be taking lots of pictures!  With this visit, will come excitement and grief.  I feel like I will never feel just one emotion at a time again.  My emotions will now forever be multitasking as I try to relate to each of my kids and their various issues (not to mention my various issues).

We want to say THANK YOU for caring for us, praying for us, reading our updates, and sending encouraging words.  We are so thankful for you and REALLY miss spending time with other adults! :-)  Part of our prep work included reading a lot about adoption.  One of the big things with adopting is cocooning--which means spending time with just the family and not adding in a lot of the extra, normal activities until you give time for deep bonding.

Let me tell you, we have been cocooning.  The process of being here for 4-6 weeks automatically forces cocooning.  We have been blessed to have people back home helping with work so that we could all be here together.  When we get home, we'll be homeschooling atleast this first semester--cocooning.  Yet, as I am learning more about how we all get along together, I hope to add in some planned activities that I think will be good for everybody.  
And good for our sanity.

Again, thank you for your prayers and encouragement!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's different about this picture?

Okay, we are close!  We have an appointment with the Embassy tomorrow afternoon and should get all the visas no problem.  Thank you for your prayers this week--we have passports in hand and documents from the doctor.  YAY!

Now we are looking at flights and things do not look good over the weekend.  Pray for seats to open up for all of us to come home together this weekend.  We may split up or have to wait until Monday night, both of those ideas do not sound good to me.  However, I keep reminding myself that we are blessed and going home earlier than we had originally planned. 

God is good

For those of you who may not ever come to Colombia, ;-) I thought I would share some pictures of things that are WAY different than things in the States. 

Traffic is a little much.  I am sure it is like many other places in the world where drivers use horns instead of blinkers.  Traffic is busy all night too.  And the most peculiar thing to me is seeing horse drawn wagons frequently moving along the street right next to twenty million cars.
We only see that in Houston at rodeo time and it makes the news.

 Hotdogs come in packages similar to those in the U.S., but each dog is individually wrapped in clear plastic.  I didn't know that the first time I threw them in the frying pan.

 Milk is sold on the shelf in the same aisle as bread.  Not refrigerated.  I buy a pack of six bags like this every time I go to the store--which is every 2 days.

Carrots here are shorter and fatter.  Not even going to make a joke about that.  But I like them better than the ones in the U.S.  Yummy!
 This last one is my favorite.  Anytime we eat in a "Broaster" everyone gets plastic gloves to eat their food with.  Good-bye forks and knives.
This may be a big adjustment when we get back to the States...for all of us.
The next time we go to KFC, our kids will be looking for the gloves. :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Almost Home!

We are almost home 
and we need your prayers for specific things this week!  

FIRST: Pray for success tomorrow in getting new IDs and Passports.  
SECOND: Pray that we may pick up passports Thursday and get the needed papers from the Doctor.
THIRD: Pray that we have all necessary documents and have favor Friday when we go for our appointment at the American Embassy at 1:00 pm.
LAST: Pray as we plan to make a visit to the Orphanage with all the kids and pack to come home SUNDAY (pray there will be room for all of us on the flight when we are ready to book it!)

We are soooooooooooooooo ready to come home!  

Everybody is READY.

I have to share some pics from our game time at the mall.  We spent two afternoons (one last week and one this week) at the top floor of the mall where they have lots of games.  Our crew put all the tickets they won together from both days and were able to pick out a Ripstick from the prize counter. (it took about 1300 tickets!)

And the Ripstick has provided great entertainment the last couple of days.

I share a lot about the kids and some of you have specifically asked how Jeremy and I are doing.  

The short answer is very well, 
but we did hide out and eat almost an entire king size Hershey bar in about 10 minutes this evening. :-) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Guest House

I don't think I have given you a tour of the Guest House yet.  You have got to hear what God did!  For weeks I looked online at apartments in Bogota to find a place that would be big enough for a family of nine.  I prayed.  I knew God would provide a place for us.

About three or four weeks before we traveled, friends of ours hooked us up with The Guest House.  It is a house that serves missionary teams, individuals, and pastors.  And it also is used for Seminary classes and church on a weekly basis (which we found out after getting here.)  I think we are the first adoptive family who has stayed here and we may be the last. ;-)

Anyway, it has been great!  We have even gone downstairs to the church service the last three Sundays with the kids.  I don't think we would have ventured out to another church while here, but since this one meets right next to our kitchen and it's hard keeping all 7 kids quiet all Sunday morning, we thought we would try!

 The kitchen/laundry room is fully equipped and we even fit at the long table that takes up most of the space. :-)
You can warm something up in the microwave, wash dishes, and or get something off the stove all while sitting at the table!
Around the corner from the kitchen is the stairs that lead to our bedrooms and living room

The living room

Master bedroom down the hall

The girls' room

The boys' room
(I took these pics the day we got here so the rooms look really neat!)
The "yard" next to the house
(which is also right next to a road that sounds like Hwy 290 during rush hour at all hours of the night--but it doesn't keep me awake....anymore.)
OH, and they mow that 1/4 acre with weedeaters at 5:30 am--Nash Lawn could open up another crew down here!
One of the neighbors

We have been very comfortable in this place and thankful to have the room!  After considering a few apartments, we feel we could not be in a better place.  Many thanks to our friends here in Bogota--Stan and Deb!
Just one more blessing that God gave us to show us He's got this!

Friday, September 7, 2012


And when they arrived and gathered the church together, 
they declared all that God had done with them...(Acts 14:27)

We are not home yet, but we want to "gather" the church together and share all that God has done with us to bring us to this point today....
Adoption Finalization.

May we introduce you to our new kids
Marian and Katerin



Our family at the Judge's office with our awesome agency representative,

God is good!  We are a new family of nine today.  Just 3 1/2 weeks after arriving here in Bogota, adoptions are final.  He answered our prayers for favor and quick finalization.  We are thankful.

I have been thinking about how all this started.  When Jeremy and I first talked about expanding our family back in December 2008.  We did not know how or when but we started praying.  I thought about that January 2010 when we told our adoption agency to put us on their radar for sibling groups or older kids.  That same month, 4 siblings were given to the care of the state and entered an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia.

I've been thinking about how God confirmed for us that we could love older kids just as much as we loved the babies on that first mission trip to Rwanda.  I remember first praying I Thes 3:11 "Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you."  And those 4 kids in Colombia were declared adoptable that same month.

And then we said "yes" to just hosting orphans for a vacation program last summer.  We did not commit to adopt them before they came, but we were willing to say "yes" to whatever God had in mind.

It was not a week after they left that Jeremy confessed, "I don't need to pray to know if this is the right thing to do, I know it is the right thing to do.  I need to pray for courage."  All those months we were asking the Lord, "Where are our children?"  And then He
We said "Yes, Lord, do whatever You wish."
And we started the adoption process and only knew to follow Him one step at a time.  A hundred things could close the door.  He never promised that these kids would be ours.  And now we have passed through the final door.  

And they share our last name.

Here is a short video taken by Orphan Hope International last Fall as we began the adoption process

Now what?
We will keep believing, trusting, following, depending, hoping. 

Thank you for your prayers, support, encouragement along the way!!

 God has done great things and we give Him the glory.  
The credit in NO WAY belongs to us.

We know that He has not called us to this task of parenting kids from hard places to leave us to ourselves.  We need you.  We need your continued prayers.

Give thanks with us today for ALL that God has done!
Enjoying some ice cream tonight as we celebrate!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

Homemade cards and Chocolate cake--
Happy Birthday Papá/Dad/Jeremy!  
(He is called all three names at different times by different kids!)

We had Dad's "birthday party" at Mundo Aventura

What an adventure it was!
That's Jeremy and the bigs about to ride something I would never get on...

 See why??

I took the littles for most of the day
 SLIDING....that's my kind of ride

When we were all together I found myself constantly counting heads.  I can count to 7 in Spanish and English faster than you can say
"No más!"

Who cares if it's 60 degrees---let's get wet!

Happy B-day, my man
39 for the first time

Monday, September 3, 2012

What does patience look like?

The top two things we hear from people once they find out all 7 kids are ours are...
1. You must have a big house.  

To which I answer "Es bastante."  It's enough.

2. You must be very patient.  

And I just smile.

So what does patience look like?

Patience is....having some beds unmade.

Patience is....letting the cushions come off the couch and chairs for a big pillow fight or forts or flips on the couch (I don't let them do that, yes I do.)

 (only sometimes)
Patience is....WANTING everyone to be happy, but UNDERSTANDING that someone will usually be poubty, heading to time-out or time-in, or wanting what someone else has.

Patience is....finding my alone time at the kitchen sink doing dishes or folding laundry at the dryer.

Patience is....being called by my first name from my child.

Patience is....saying "I love you" everyday and everynight with a kiss even when it is not said in return.

Patience is....not losing it when I am being lied to. And asking for forgiveness when I do lose it.

Last night was pretty rough.  It was the first night I cried.  Sometimes dealing with the kids' coping mechanisms is really hard....on everybody.
 (one day the kids put on make-up, came up with a Halloween play, and we made Fall decorations)
Wesley was a zombie--which is what I feel like sometimes. ;-)

But His mercies are new every morning and this is what we are trying to teach the kids.  We can start anew.  Today was a better day!

Tomorrow I'll share some pictures from Jeremy's Birthday in Colombia!  :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Still counting

Blessing #10 ELECTRICITY:  We are back up and running after about 30 hours without power.  Friday morning power was cut--found out later that it was because the bill had not been paid.  We were told it would take about an hour and should be up hour passed, nothing.  By the late afternoon the office manager of the guest house showed us where candles were "in case" we did not get power before dark.  Here is how we spent our Friday night....

a nice candlelit dinner
#11 Thankful for a gas stove!  We had hamburgers and fries.

One big UNO game with a flashlight hanging from the ceiling
(this is really how dark it was)

Today we spent some time on the puzzle and playing outside

 #12 All the electronic games slowly died and could not be recharged

 We love playing with other people's dogs!

 And we have taken on tree climbing

I have to reiterate #10 again....I'm really thankful for la luz!!  The pictures make our time Friday night look special and cozy, which it was, but you know, open flames, rowdy boys, and dark bathrooms are not a great combination.
Thanks all for your continued prayers and notes!  Hope you have a blessed Holiday weekend!