Four weeks ago Rob and I welcomed our 12th grandchild. A grandson named Oliver. He is such a darling boy and we are thankful to report that mother, father and baby are all well and home again from hospital. Our next youngest granddaughters turned 1 year old yesterday. Twins, Blayke and Autumn came for a visit today and got to see their new cousin Oliver. Not sure what they thought of him:). Also our oldest granddaughter Mila and her brother Fletcher came with dad Jon to see us with another cousin. A full house with kids and parents! God is good!
Two weeks ago our blog hit over 4200 readers, 4219 to be accurate!. While most of you have read and commented in positive ways there have been a very small minority that have not. That’s ok! Really, ok! When our article made the papers, I said there were three types of people in our lives. I borrowed this thought from a sermon I heard Pastor Dylan Barkman, a close family friend speak on recently so I can’t take the credit unfortunately.
The first type I call our Cheerleaders... They are the ones who, as their name implies, cheer us on. They tell us we are doing good, they are praying for us and they think adoption is a good thing. They comment on our parenting skills and say they love to watch us with our children. They offer support and encouragement along this journey. We love our cheerleaders!
Secondly we have our Naysayers. Now they are in the total opposite camp from our cheerleaders but we love them too. I had coffee one day recently with someone who I feel started out as a naysayer but after many questions and answers, (her asking the questions and me answering), I felt that maybe she had become somewhat of a fledgling cheerleader by the end of our visit. During the conversation she asked me ‘Why do you love your naysayers’? I said that most times naysayers are that way because either they don’t know us, they don’t understand us and they for sure don’t know our motives. To them this whole thing makes no sense! It’s dumb! A big risk and waste of time. Like why on earth would we want to risk what we already have to do something like this? From a worldly point of view that assumption is correct. This doesn’t make sense, it didn’t make sense the first time either but neither Rob or I regret it for a minute! We love our Naysayers because they make us look at ourselves, to question our motives, to really look at why we are doing a second orphan adoption and for that reason we love them too. They hold us accountable. I don’t think she was expecting me to say that. Maybe she thought I was going to try convince her that what we are doing is a good thing, to buy into it. To commit but that’s not my job! Only God can convince a person to become involved in something this big. In all honesty, who but a loving Heavenly Father, would ask us, two broken human beings redeemed by His precious Son, to do this and then not supply all that we need to accomplish what He has asked?
Thirdly we have our Mentors. We need our mentors but we totally love them too. Our mentors are the ones down there in the trenches with us though all the million steps a second adoption takes. Alyson or Thea are the ones who text me at 0630 am to share a Bible verse or a devotional reading that they feel I need to see- like – Right Now!. They are the ones whose shoulders I cry on when I feel broken and discouraged and they are the ones, like Aaron and Hur of old, holding my arms up, so I don’t get weary and overwhelmed in the journey. For obvious reasons Rob has a couple of male mentors and I, two female ones. I have learned how to be part of a group text with these girls. They organize our fundraisers and think up ways to help raise money for this second adoption. I love their energy! Rob recieves texts and encouraging notes throughout the week as do I. Importantly we can be ourselves with our mentors. They also challenge us, rebuke and love us with all our faults. They call us to repent when we need to. We are blessed over and over by them.
The last month has been super busy and somewhat stressful. We had our big Fundraiser Dinner on May 4th 2019. It was a total success and the Lord blessed our adoption fund through the generous support of people who attended and through Matt Falk who came along and entertained us and had everyone in fits of laughter with his comedy! What a wonderful evening. The girls and friends had the gym all decorated in blue and yellow, the official colors of Ukraine. It felt like a wedding as Rob and I were not allowed to be part of the decorating and then we were given a tour just before they opened the doors to the public. Interestingly, about a third of the 320 people who attended, didn’t have a clue who we were but hopefully as we spoke and as others spoke they went away with a better idea of what these two crazy people are about. That evening we also prayed for our close friends Trish and Mike as they left that day on their own adoption journey but still helped us in many generous ways before leaving. But theirs is not my story to tell except to say that we have been praying for them on a daily basis and God has blessed them also with new children to add to their existing family.
My devotions over the last couple of weeks have been centered in the Book of Psalms. As I read the words of a young David, God impresses upon my soul that what happened to David many thousand of years ago continues to happen, but just as some sought to do David harm, God is still the same faithful protector that He always has been. Psalm 3 …’God look, enemies sprouting like mushrooms. Mobs roaring mockery. ‘Hah, No help for him from God’ But you God, shield me on all sides. You ground my feet, You lift up my head high. With all my might I shout to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain. I stretch myself out. I sleep and then I’m up again-rested, tall and steady. Fearless before the enemy mobs. Coming at me from all sides. Rest, help comes from God. Your blessings clothes your people! (The Message).Wow! There are many times throughout the last few weeks that I needed to hear that! Thank You God that You love me and are working all things for Your good purpose! Not because I am perfect but because Your are!
Over the last few weeks also I am waking some mornings with the words of a chorus in my mind. I think it’s beautiful how the Holy Spirit speaks in a way that we can hear Him! The best way to make sure if it’s really God is to compare it to Scripture. If the two don’t match up then it’s not God I am hearing. May 5th the chorus was “Flawless“ by Mercy Me.
I love “God Appointments”. We had been given some money gifts for our adoption fund at the dinner. I called around Monday and thanked those who donated. Tuesday I went to the bank to deposit. One check was not signed so I called the lady and she invited me over to get that done. What a lovely visit! She was so hospitable and we had coffee, prayed together and it was just wonderful. What a time of refreshment.
Wednesday May 8th I woke up praising God out of my sleep. “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only God”. Yes, I for one have so much to praise and thank Him for today. Lord help us to be people of faith who pray Big, Specific Prayers!
Our renovations are almost completed. Rob has been working many evenings when I am at the hospital to get the drywalling and painting done so that we will have enough bedrooms for whoever will bless our home in the future. I am so thankful to have a husband who will put his own wants on the back burner to work so hard at getting our home ready. I’m sure he would rather sit down and watch tv sometimes but he has energy and drive to get it finished.
It sort of makes me chuckle when I hear perfect strangers expressing concern over things like, “How can they love more kids, Won’t some kids get left out?” Ahh….No…..Niamh summed it all up nicely one day last year. She said “Mom, we know that you and dad will still love us when you get more kids because you love us and you still love all your other kids too”. How true! From the lips of babes…
Monday May 20th 2019. There is an update that I can’t share all the details of at present. I don’t know why, but I feel through this God is saying that I need to be more open to who He will choose for us. I actually didn’t realize this fact and that I was limiting God and holding onto some control, until I was driving home from work this afternoon. How could I have been so blind! I was praying, and if truth be told, crying quietly in my car. I’m very tired. I have worked way too many hours this week and my spirit is tired as well as my body. 70 hours in 7 days is too many. I don’t usually work anywhere near this much but my CRN is off so I am working for her as well as my scheduled shifts. There is no one else. Last night I got a phone call from a stranger and the information I recieved in that few minutes rocked me to the core of my being. He came across as being a bit pushy but that may just have been my perception, regardless my heart is breaking in a million little pieces but I’m hanging on. The words of Michael W. Smith’s song “He is soverign over us” comes to me. “He is with us in the waiting, santifying us and beyond our understanding, You are teaching us to trust”. Even now that is a lesson I am learning. After all that I have been through in life that should be easy- right? But God is teaching me on a daily basis and I’m a slow learner sometimes. Really He has to be in control and I need to relinquish mine. Mine is selfishness and He only wants what is best for me and Rob.
As to raising our children, I guess it’s all about priorities. Rob and I are very intentional in our interactions with our kids. The TV is not the babysitter, nor XBox or any other media devices. We have those but they are a treat to be enjoyed and we spend much time outdoors with our kids doing fun things like quading and playing ball and also maybe not so fun things like bringing in wood and weeding the garden. We grow enough potatoes and vegetables to last us well through the year. The kids love having a piece of garden that is theirs to care for.
We enjoy just interacting with our children. We now have bees to give us honey. The boys are having fun learning how to take care of these. I’m sure the novelty of dressing up in the white bee suit complete with head gear has a lot to do with it. Declan is amazing with bees even before we got ours. He would have them walk all over his hands and fingers. Niamh still has her chickens too. Dad told her no hatching baby chicks until we come back again from Ukraine but then she can set a couple of hens if she wants. She understands that it would be a lot of extra work to care for if mom wasn’t there to do it! We hope we are teaching them important life lessons for the future. Night before last, Dad (softie that he is) surprised them with a new little orange tabby kitten, got from our oldest son Jon! Now all they need to do is agree on a name for him!
Update just in: The kitten is officially named……..Meet Chips!