Sunday, January 31, 2010

PICTURE OF THE WEEK...

Here's the picture of the week.... My friend Karen's three kids... The little toothless guy in the middle with the big grin on his face just arrived in the States on Thursday morning! 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grateful

I'm grateful it is Saturday and that the snow on the ground outside my window means today's events are cancelled.
I'm grateful that Rob is stuck at home with me and that Elijah has a friend to play with today. 
I'm so very grateful for a day to catch up on some much needed writing on a book project that was shelved for the last two days as we went from one meeting to another concerning our adoption. 
I'm grateful that our nephew made it through his surgery yesterday though we are still praying that God's hand will continue to protect him. 
I'm especially grateful that it is no longer Wednesday or Thursday night when I fell completely into a panic that our financial papers would not pass inspection. 
I'm grateful for the reassurance from our homestudy social worker and our facilitators at Reece's Rainbow that all will be well. 
I'm grateful for a son who makes his mom hot chocolate to cheer her up and kisses HER goodnight instead of the other way around. 
I'm grateful for my husband. 
Oh, am I ever grateful for him!
I'm grateful for a three hour car ride with my dear husband that afforded us the chance to talk and laugh and enjoy each others company. 
I'm grateful when my son Ben turns to me and says yesterday after helping me clean the house, "Mom, I have a good life." 
I'm grateful for Dad who willingly took care of driving Ben to swimming yesterday while we were at a meeting. 
I'm grateful for my dear friend this week who is looking forward to the day when Aaron can play with her nephew. 
I'm grateful that I can sit here and consider making THIS into a book as the list continues in my head....

Thank you God for getting me through his very tough week.  Thank you for the encouragement you sent us through family and friends this week.  Thank you for your promises that you never will leave us or forsake us.  Thank you that at this very moment, you are caring for our dear little Aaron. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

PRAY FOR MASON

Pray for our nephew today.... He is having major open heart surgery.  His name is Mason! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

MEETINGS, NERVES AND SUDARSHAN'S HOMECOMING

We have our first Homestudy meeting tomorrow and the second next Wednesday!  Yikes!  Today we meet with the accountant.  Since we have a small business we need an outside source to verify our financial papers.  All of these meetings make me nervous enough that sleep wasn't happening last night.  So I took the time to pray....  a lot of hours of prayer later I am still a bit nervous but also focused on the reality that God holds our lives in His loving hands.  He has us and our Aaron in His grasp and I am working on resting in that loving embrace. 
As I am writing this, my friend Karen is standing at the JFK airport in New York waiting for her new little boy, Sudarshan, to come through the terminal.  I wish I could be standing there with her jumping up and down.  I can only sit here and weep in joy for her!  Welcome home Sudarshan!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PRECIOUS GIFTS

So today in my classes, three of my dear students blessed me in a way that chokes me up.  Two brothers each handed me a dollar.  Another student gave me a bag full of change she had lovingly gathered.  They were so excited.  They gave with such joy!  It may not seem like much.  A couple of dollars and a bit of change against 24,000 dollars.... a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands... But what precious gifts of faith.  Given with such pleasure.  Believing.  Trusting.  Knowing in their child-like faith that God can move mountains.  I am humbled.   Thank you John, Jason and Anne.  Your faith inspires me.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

GIRL SCOUTS ROCK!!

One of the Girl Scout Troops in our county (#3086) voted to donate half their cookie sales to bring Aaron home!!  Wow!  Thanks to Lori Collins and Tamara Doublestein for talking to them and doing this for us! We feel very blessed!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

PAPERWORK... PAPERWORK...PAPERWORK

We thought we were busy before we started this adoption.  After a week of running here, there and everywhere for the adoption and finding out last night that a bunch of stuff we did HAS TO BE RE-DONE, I'm spinning.  It's discouraging.  I have to confess.  I'm grateful that I read other adoption blogs.  It helps to know that rejected paperwork is the NORM! 
On New Years Day I found a book called "The Boy from BabyHouse 10 - From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America" by Alan Philps.  I read it and Rob read it.  It gives an inside view of life in the orphanages for disabled kids and gives a really shocking picture into the institutes that they are transferred to when they reach four or five years old.   Our Aaron has been transferred and reading that book is enough to push us forward without looking back.  Last night we were wondering how he was doing.  Worrying over our little guy, praying for him.  It is all we can do at this moment.  Pray and plow through the papers. 
Say a prayer for Aaron today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WELCOMING SUDARSHAN

Several years ago I had the incredible privilege of going to India with my friend Karen who was adopting a little special needs girl, Nithya.  (Picture is of Karen, Nithya and myself in 2009)


At the orphanage was a little blind boy and leaving him behind was hard as he was the same age as Nithya and the two of them had grown up together.  So last year Karen decided to bring Sudarshan home.  Instead of having to go herself, Karen was able to arrange for an escort for Sudarshan and he is CURRENTLY ON THE WAY HOME!  How sweet today to see the pictures on Facebook of her new little son and to see all the people who we met years ago still working hard at finding homes for the orphans in India.   He's beautiful, a bit overwhelmed and in so much need of a mommy to care for him.  I AM SO HAPPY FOR KAREN!  Next Thursday she gets to hold him in her arms!!


Monday, January 18, 2010

AARON'S NAME

   So on one of our official documents we discovered that 'Aaron' is not our little guy's real name.  His real name is more like a John Doe name... so many children have it that Reece's Rainbow named him Aaron to make it easier to identify him.  Sadly, he may not even be called by his John Doe name where he lives but may be called by a totally different name.  We won't know until we get there exactly what he is called.
   When we named our boys we spend a lot of time deciding the perfect name for them.  How sad to think that Aaron was probably named with little thought or care.  Fortunately we LOVE the name Aaron which Reece's Rainbow picked for him.  It fits in with our Old Testament names for our boys.  What we pick for his full name is still under consideration but we have some definite ideas.  We want Aaron to know that his name is cherished by us and that we are putting the same amount of thought into naming him that we did with our other sons. 
  By the way... the name Aaron has several possible meanings... "light-bearer" and "mountain" are my favorites!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

CONSIDER IT JOY...

      Though we know that the Lord has laid this on our hearts, it is not all that easy to just sit back and not struggle with fear, questioning whether we have completely lost our minds!!

     So many things to worry over.. including whether our financial records will pass inspection, whether we are doing the paperwork correctly, where the money is going to come from, how people are taking our decision, how we can plan ahead not having the slightest idea when we can actually leave to get Aaron, how he is doing in the institution and on and on and on.... The fears can be overwhelming. 

     For my comfort, Rob quoted James 1:2-4 to me last night when I started to list all the things to worry about: 

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

    Thank you to my dear husband.  For those of you who know Rob, he is rather quiet and not one to walk around quoting Scripture at the drop of a hat so I cherish those verses.  Now, if I could just keep that in my thoughts and not all the list of worries.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A SMOKIN' GOOD TIME???

We are a frugal family and so despite the freezing temperatures... we try not to crank up the heat.  We have a small wood stove that we use as back-up heat.  It is small but with a good fire in the stove, we are quite comfortable.  Sitting in front of the wood stove in our little comfy rocking chair with a good book is the coveted spot in the house.  Unfortunately, because of the weeks of cold weather without let-up, we have run out of all of our dry wood.   This afternoon I tried to start a fire in our wood stove because I was a bit tired of being cold and for some reason... my fire went nuts.  It flamed out of control and then smoke poured out like crazy.  I don't know if it was the wood I used or the wind pouring back down the chimney or the fact that the stove was cold for a full day but something didn't go right.  So we now have all the windows and doors opened, fans going at full blast, hamsters and animals removed to safety and our house smelling a bit too woodsy!  I'm not as cold anymore though... the stress raised my temperature about 20 degrees!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FIRST DONATIONS

First Donations for Aaron... Annabelle (age 13) and Anthony (age 10) gave Aaron their Christmas donation money... how cool is that????

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS

Highlight of the last two days - Telling my five different Hands on History classes about Aaron!  That was fun!

Lowlight of the last two days - Realizing how much paperwork is involved in this process.... Unbelievable!

Monday, January 11, 2010

NOISY PRAYERS

To all the Reece's Rainbow people who have e-mailed... sent comments... and let us know through the yahoo group how hard you have been praying for Aaron to have a home ... thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We have been so touched, shocked and blessed by how many people have been praying for Aaron... rooting for him... longing for him to have a home long before we knew about this little guy.  Amazing love. 

This is my thought for the day... The reason that the calling we felt from God was SO STRONG was because with all the prayers and cries offered up for Aaron to the Lord... His eardrums were being shattered!  Noisy prayers move mountains!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ABOUT US...



These two handsome boys will be Aaron's older brothers.  The oldest is Ben and he is my sports guy.  He swims year round on a swim team, loves the Cowboys (I love the Redskins) and loves acting in drama productions.  The younger one is Elijah and he is my scientist.  He is active in Boy Scouts and also loves acting.  Both boys love music and don't have any trouble singing for anyone who asks them!  Ben plays the guitar and Elijah plays the piano.  Of course they don't always agree on their music choices but that is another story. 
My dear husband, who hates getting his picture taken so don't plan on seeing much of him, is 6'3" and is strong as an ox.  He builds one house a year and pretty much does the entire house himself.  He's an absolute perfectionist!  He's smart and is the reason why the boys can sing as well as they do.  He's my editor.
I spend my days teaching my boys (we are homeschooling family), teaching history at a Co-op and also at my house and writing history curriculum.  Anyone interested in a four year awesome Christian history curriculum... http://www.biblioplan.org/ - Biblioplan has been around for a number of years but we are re-vamping it.  The third and fourth year are finished.  I'm currently working on Ancients!  I'm 5'2" so I am the 'Small Nalle" and Rob is the "Tall Nalle."
We attend a small Methodist church here in Virginia.  My dad lives next door and Rob's parents live 5 miles away.  My mom died of cancer 9 years ago.
Anyway - for all those Reece's Rainbow people who are asking about us... that is who we are in a small nutshell.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

THE FAMILY LETTER

We wrote this to our family today and wanted it to be the first message on our blog:


Dear family,
We have some news for all of you. After Julia came back from India in 2007, we talked about and believed that we would either adopt or do foster care. We planned on waiting until the boys were older, and especially in light of the massive curriculum project we’ve undertaken, (we are writing a homeschooling history curriculum) later was better than sooner. The economy and poor business prospects also made us believe that delaying was for the best.
Sometimes God has other plans. About three weeks ago Julia saw a picture of a little boy on a website, http://www.reesesrainbow.com/. He was being featured because he had just been transferred to a mental institute for special needs children. His name was Aaron and he was born in 2004. In the Eastern European countries, when a special needs child reaches the age of 4 or 5, he or she is transferred out of the orphanage and placed in a mental institute. For the majority of these kids it is a death sentence. This little boy caught Julia’s eye because he was cognitively normal, considered high functioning and looked a bit like Rob with the deep dimples. He suffered from a condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his hands; but from the description, his case seemed fairly mild. We e-mailed Reeces’s Rainbow to see where he was located. While waiting for a response we stated emphatically that if he was from one particular country, we weren’t interested. This particular countries adoptions are tough, expensive and require a lot of travel. The e-mail came back within a few minutes, and he was indeed from exactly where we didn't want to go. We walked away thinking that was it.
Within a day, Julia came across a blog of a college student named Molly who was advocating for the adoption OF THIS SAME CHILD! Molly was passionate about finding him a family and trying in her own way to raise money for his ‘forever family.’ For the next week Julia was haunted by Aaron’s face and his need. After several completely sleepless nights and periods of intermittent weeping it was clear that God was moving in her heart. Last Sunday night at 3:00 she woke up sobbing. Rob was downstairs sleeping in his chair (back pains drive him out of bed most nights) and after thirty minutes of crying and praying alone Julia knew she needed to dump it all in Rob’s lap. We spent the rest of that night and the next several nights talking, processing and praying. By the end of the week we came to the realization that Aaron needed to be part of our family despite the huge financial hurdle set before us (24-26,000 dollars), the reality that Aaron could be damaged beyond repair where he is currently located, the medical issues associated with his condition and the toll it will take on our family. We both strongly believe that God has moved in our hearts and we have decided to step out in the biggest leap of faith either of us has ever taken. We are going to try adopt Aaron. We submitted our first form today.
We know this is a bit of a shock. It is for us too. All four of us feel overwhelmed, scared, and excited. We definitely feel a deep need for support from our families in this decision. It has an element of foolishness - crossing the globe to save one little boy who we only know through a picture and a paragraph. Why him, why now and why there?
We need you to pray. First and foremost that Aaron will be protected where he is located. All that we have heard about the institutes in Eastern Europe is horrific. We know that the orphanage he was in loved him because they approached Reece’s Rainbow to find Aaron a family. This was the first time that particular orphanage had had any contact with Reese’s Rainbow, so that speaks volumes. We need you to pray that our little guy will have people in the mental institute where he now lives who will guard him, take care of him and make sure that he is fed. So many of these children die of starvation. Please pray!
We also need you to pray that we can move through the paperwork quickly. We have been told that we could have him as early as late summer if all goes well. The less time he is stuck in a crib, the better! We had friends who just went through an adoption from this same country, and their experience was rough. Their difficulties made us reluctant to pursue adoption there. For Aaron’s long-term mental and physical health, it is important that we get him as soon as possible.
We need prayers that God will provide, financially and emotionally. This is going to take a toll on us in both realms.

We are trusting in God and excited to see what He is going to reveal to us through the life of this one little boy. We are hoping that next Thanksgiving and Christmas, his little dimples will grace our family gatherings!
In Christ’s abiding love,
Rob and Julia
http://www.reecesrainbow.com/newsite/otherangels.html

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