Archive for the ‘God’ Category

My husband helping one of our sons learn to fly a kite at the beach

My husband, Dave, is a great daddy. I knew when I married him he was a pretty terrific guy. But there are a few traits of my husband I wanted to highlight on this Father’s Day, 2012.

My husband loves God. He seeks wisdom and direction from God in leading our family, and prays regularly for us. He strives to love God will all his heart, mind, strength and soul. Just as the David of the Bible was a man after God’s own heart, so is my husband. We are blessed to have a Godly man leading our family and seeking to do God’s will.

He works hard for our family, allowing me to stay home with our children. I knew when we started a family, I wanted to be able to stay home to raise our children. We took steps early on in our marriage that enabled us to be a one-income family. I am so grateful to be able to spend my days with our children and watch them grow.

He is patient, much more so than me. When I was at my wit’s end in potty training one of our children, my husband came up with a game plan of incentives that motivated our child to succeed. He takes the time to teach our children. When my daughter struggled in learning a new math concept last year, my husband sat down with her in the evening and helped her understand the concept a different way than I had been trying to teach her. As a homeschool mom, I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing it is to have a supportive husband who takes an active role in helping teach our children. He researches curricula and homeschool resources, and encourages our children as they learn.

He goes along with some of my crazy ideas…like going on vacation with four young kiddos (actually going anywhere with four very energetic kids). I often underestimate the effort involved in taking our family places. But Dave knows I like to get out and do things as a family, and he sacrifices Saturdays and other times so we can spend time together.

He supports my interests and encourages me to try new things. My first priority is being a mama…and it is hard to get time to myself at this stage of our family life. But Dave encourages me to get together with friends and other homeschool mamas, and to take care of myself.

I know I don’t tell him often enough how much I appreciate all his hard work. Happy Father’s Day to my husband, and to all daddies (and daddies-to-be)!

It is hard to believe one year ago this week we were in Taiwan meeting our youngest son. Where does the time go? The last year has been full of a sweet memories, new challenges and adventures as a family of six. I have to say our littlest guy is the most active of our four children. When we met him at the orphanage, at 9 1/2 months of age, he could not sit up for more than a few seconds before toppling over. It was not long before he tackled the sitting “milestone”. Then he was crawling and climbing…yikes! He was climbing everything a few months before he started walking, including the kitchen table and stairs. Obstacles are no trouble; baby gates a necessity but not always effective. He is always watching and learning. He can open some baby gates and is strong enough to push doors open (even doors you would think are too heavy for a guy his size). It is amazing to think how far he has come in the last year. He makes friends wherever we go. He recently learned to blow kisses and by doing so, charms everyone around him. His “dimply” smile and toothy grin can brighten anyone’s day. We are just beginning to see his personality emerge. I look forward to seeing all that God is going to do in his life. Our youngest son has a unique determination I know is a gift from God.

Here are a few photos from our day in Taiwan a year ago….clockwise from top left: feeding him his first bottle; our boy asleep in the hotel crib the first night; our first moments with him at St. Lucy’s Center (orphanage) in Tainan; proud daddy holding his son; happy boy playing in hotel room; as we left the orphanage in a cab, our little guy fell fast asleep in my arms; and sitting on the plaza in front of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei.

A real family photo, with one child not interested in looking at the camera

With Mother’s Day approaching in a few days, I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned (and am still learning) since becoming a mother. Each day seems to offer a new challenge. Being a mama is the most demanding, yet also the most rewarding job I have ever had.

Saying sorry is okay. I make mistakes (often). I have learned to say sorry and ask our kids’ forgiveness. I require them to apologize to one another, and I’ve learned it is just as important for me to be willing to say I’m sorry, too.

Figure out your top priorities and make sure your schedule reflects those priorities. As a mom, my first priority is my family. I am pulled in many different directions, though. There are so many great activities, programs and ministries – I would love to do it all. But I am the one left feeling rundown and tired and defeated because I cannot get everything done. I started saying “no” more frequently during the last year and it’s been good for my husband, my children and for me.

What worked with one child may not work with your next child. All of my kids are different. Just when I think I figured out this motherhood thing, another challenge presents itself and I realize I have much more to learn. Before I had children, I said I would do things a certain way. Guess what? That changed as soon as our first child was born. And it keeps changing as we get to know our children, and as they grow.

Love is an amazing thing. I never could have imagined how much adoption would change my life. I read this adoption creed recently and it is a reflection of how I feel about my sons from Taiwan. The moment I saw them at the orphanage, I knew God had chosen them for our family. I feel so blessed to be their mama.

“Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
you didn’t grow under my heart but in it.”

My children are truly a blessing from God. I love each one of them and I am so grateful God has entrusted my husband and me to raise them.

Motherhood is quite a journey. I am trying to give myself grace when I make mistakes and extend grace to my children as they learn and grow. I still have much to learn as a mama…not least of which is how to keep a clean house and stay on top of the laundry.

The Art of Waiting

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Adoption, God

Adoption offers many opportunities to practice the art of waiting.  We have become so accustomed to living in an instantaneous world and expecting immediate results. However, adoption requires patience, trust and dependence on others involved in the process, and distractions/self-control from checking email 100 times a day (I’m still working on that one. . .the availability of wi-fi just about everywhere makes it way too easy to stay in touch).

At the start of this adoption, it was a mad rush to update all of our paperwork and our home study. Then we waited. First for orphanage approval, then for contracts. When we received the contracts in February, we rushed to have them notarized, authenticated, and returned to Taiwan. Then we waited for word on our court ruling. We heard of the first part of our final decree the first week of April. Then we started waiting again, this time for travel dates. We’re still waiting. We received tentative dates last week, but we are waiting on confirmation of our son’s visa appointment before booking our flights.

All in all, both of our adoptions have gone smoothly with few delays. But the many weeks and months of waiting has forced me to practice patience. I know we will travel in God’s perfect timing, which I hope is very soon. In the meantime, here are a few passages from God’s word encouraging me as we wait. . .

“. . .but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:4-8

We have a final decree!

Posted: April 7, 2011 in Adoption, God

Good news – we have a final decree! Now we are awaiting travel dates. Our agency thinks we will be traveling in late May or early June – it depends on when an appointment can be scheduled with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT, the American consulate). Apparently, AIT has taken on some additional workload to help the US Embassy in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami last month. Hopefully we will have confirmed dates soon.  I’ve updated our timeline for families waiting to adopt – we praise God our paperwork made it through court as quickly as it did and are hopeful we can bring our little guy home soon.