# 29….”Death overcome by The Word”….

This week there has been much upheaval and unrest in Ukraine.  This is not good in any way! Thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Independence Square in Kyiv to protest on Sunday October 6th 2019.  I don’t pretend to understand the politics or everything that is happening over there between the Russia Federation and the Ukrainian forces but we are praying for wisdom for all involved and a real sense of peace for those affected by the turmoil.   (photo credits Fakty.ua & Ukrinform).  

As a child of “The Troubles” myself, I would hate to think of Ukraine going through again all that my home country of Ireland went though for many years.  Growing up in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, only 7 miles from the border with Northern Ireland, I saw and heard many things that a child should never have to see or think about. Nowadays of course that child would be rushed off to see a psychologist, diagnosed with a string of letters and given some pills, but back then we just realized it was a part of life we didn’t like, had no control over, and something that we would eventually get through. I feel it made us resiliant.

British soldiers and paramilitries with guns were as common to us as anything.  (My life was threated on more than one occasion by protestant paramilitaries in black balacalvas holding M16 machine guns pointing at my face). It was commonplace to hear of bombings and shootings and I couldn’t count the many times I rode with my dad past burning cars or stepped over spent bullet cases laying in the gutters of the streets of Derry, my mother’s native town. We could hear the bombs going off and the news each night was filled with the names of those whose lives had been taken by car bombs or had been shot that day in Northern Ireland. Peace was hard fought for and won at a great cost.  I wish people would seriously think before resorting to violence.IMG_1881

My mother prayed daily for all those involved and I learned the value of prayer from a young age by watching her, even thought I didn’t understand it all back then. I can still see her kneeling on the floor by her bed with her hands on her Bible, kissing it and crying out to Jesus. The Word was so important to her. She knew the Only One who could help.

We celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend. I am so thankful for where I live now.  There are things about Canada that are maybe not to everyone’s liking but we have so much to be thankful for here as a nation.

On any given day here are just a fraction of the things I am thankful to my Father for : I can go to sleep and awake again in my warm, comfortable bed after having had a restful sleep. I am thankful for good health and that I can stand and walk unaided to the bathroom.  I have clean water both to wash in and to drink. I have a choice of food to eat for breakfast. I can share the affection and laughter of spouse and family. I can pray over and wave our children off to school.  I can enjoy that second cup of coffee, meet for Bible study with friends, pray,  have the mental faculties to understand what I read, have a lunch to eat made from food that’s already in my fridge. I can get into my car, go to my place of employment and receive a good wage for my labour. I can travel in safety, knowing that in all likely-hood my car won’t be hijacked or burned. At work, I can have a break (on a good night) eat supper and have people I work with who are kind and whose company I can enjoy. Have a career that I love and have wanted for many years. Have the freedom to speak about Jesus (at least for now). Get a phone call from either my husband or adult children to say they love me. Have the freedom to attend church services where Jesus is the primary focus, SO, SO, much to be thankful for!!! (and I know I haven’t even covered even the half of it).IMG_1523

So as we gather with family, please remember the One from who we receive all good things and return Him thanks for the same.  And let us remember the poor and unfortunate in other countries also.  Please, help us get our children home! 

 

If you would like to help us with Adoption Volume 2, to provide a forever family for some more Ukrainian Orphans, click on the preceding link.

# 28…In appreciation of my Father’s love….

This week with Fall well and truly here and Winter fast approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and just reflecting.  It’s a good exercise at times, a sort of “self check”.  We are still in the “waiting phase” for “Steeve’s Adoption Volume 2”.  Our documents are where they need to be and for now we wait and pray.  Please remember to continue to pray also.

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I just love this picture! Don’t you?  Declan with niece Autumn, sharing a hot-dog.  Phoenix the cute dog looking on and hoping they drop some 🙂

In my ponderings this week I was thinking about how my children percieve me.  What do they see when they watch me go about my daily routine?  What am I modeling for them? Someone said recently.  “If we don’t show our kids how to follow Jesus someone else will show them how not to.”  If I’m not super excited and authentic about my relationship with Him then my children probably won’t be either.  It won’t take long.  The Israelites in the Old Testament had the same issues as us and we all know what happened to them. Wandering about, lost in the wilderness, giving their hearts and devotion away to any but the One true God and so on.  It wasn’t a super positive outcome for the old Israelites.  I don’t want that for us or for our children, any of them. This continues to be our goal. It’s a lifelong process.

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Our family enjoying time together.  24 out of 30 were able to join us.  That was good for the 3 day notice.  I love our kids & grandkids!

This Monday past was National Adoption Day.  A day set aside once a year to honour adoptees and those who adopt them.  Actually, in all honesty every day in our lives is ‘adoption day.’  There is not a day goes by but I am so incredibly thankful for these beautiful people who God in His amazing love and mercy brought into our lives. I still can’t believe that they are mine! Ours!  I couldn’t imagine life without them, without any of our children for that matter, grown or otherwise. It it always easy? No! but it’s most definitely worth any struggle that might come with it.

But what does is mean to be adopted?  There are different kinds of adoption.  It’s not just two parents adopting a child or even children.  When someome asks Jesus to come into their lives as Saviour we become adopted into the family of God.  We belong. This first and formost is the most important adoption. Then there is family like ours. Our big, blended family. When I met Rob (almost 20 years ago now) I adopted his children into my heart and he did the same with mine.  When our adult children met and married their spouses, we adopted them too as part our family and they became our children also.  As with all big families we don’t always agree, sometimes we argue, sometimes we pull away for a while but through all this we still love each other, we have each others backs and we want the best for each other.  We want to build each other up and encourage each other.  Our words should be always filled with grace.  We should be quick to say “I’m sorry, please forgive me” when we are wrong.  Not easy but necessary. We need to love each other as Jesus loves us!  As I was writing this post I thought of it like this:  God’s native language and nature is “LOVE”.  So should ours be to everyone, not just to those in our families.

This week has been busy but fruitful. We started off last Sunday with church then had our family over to our place for a photo shoot and weiner roast.  Most were able to come but the short notice didn’t work for one of our sons and his wife and 2 kids.  Another son-in-law was sick so he stayed at home and a daughter was on vacation but we had a blast with the ones who were able to make it.  24 people out of 30 was really good for the 3 day notice. It was such a beautiful fall day, the weather was amazing and we were all able to be outdoors for the evening around the fire pit.  Such a blessing!  I love our kids!.

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Our children with some of our grandchildren.

Then on my days off I got 3 duvet covers made so far for our new children and split and stacked some wood for the winter after this one. With Rob and Niamh’s amazing help, we canned jars and jars of homemade spaghetti & pizza sauce. We had quite the production line going:).  I’ve also caught up on a couple of episodes of a British crime drama that I’ve wanted to see for a while. Getting the canning done brings a real sense of accomplishment that I’m sure many here can identify with, especially with the cooler days coming faster than I would like them to.  Stubborn Irish woman that I am, (“ha ha!” says Rob- well he should know eh?) I refuse to give up wearing sandals or skirts most days until it’s way colder than this!

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Myself & Rob in our yard.

“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children”.  Psalm 103 v 17 (NIV)

 

# 27….”You are with us in the waiting….”

Over that last few weeks a lot of people keep asking us where things are currently at with Steeves Adoption Volume 2. Sometimes it’s really difficult to know what to say. The “hurry up and wait” is in full swing!  We are working hard at home getting the finishing touches on the rooms and garden produce canned and frozen. Honey has been extracted too. 

Declan likes to help his dad with the bees.

We are both trying to spend as much time with our family also. We never want any of our children, grown up or otherwise, to feel they are being “replaced” or are not as special to us once we add to our family.  Crazy as that sounds it would be like telling someone that once they are pregnant again there is no way on earth that they can possibly love the children they already have, now that another child is on the way. That would be pretty silly: right?

Financially we still are about $9,000 off our fundraising goal for the first trip. The generous support of those who have a heart for orphans has raised almost $41,000. That is incredible and humbles us completely.  “Thank You Jesus for the faithful generousity of those around us.” “Our Tribe” as someone called it. I love that title! I love being part of the “Tribe” of God!

A few Saturdays ago 3 little girls, nieces of a good friend, baked cupcakes and sold lemonade on the street in Steinbach. These 3 who have the most compassionate hearts that I’ve seen in a while made a whopping $71.00 from their efforts for our adoption fund. Their auntie brought them over so they could meet us and give it to us themselves. Rob asked if he could show them the books we made for our children about the orphanage just so they could see for themselves the conditions some children live in and they sat mesmerized, close up beside him on the sofa so they all could see as he explained the pictures to them. “God I know that You have planted seeds of Your love in their hearts to help others.” “Can’t wait to see where this will go!” 

These 3 beautiful girls, Isla, Florence & Nora, baked and sold cupcakes & lemonade to raise $71 for our adoption fund. Way to go girls!

Also a couple of weeks ago we had a sleepover here with some of our grandchildren. Micah and Grace came on the Monday evening and Sophie joined us on the Tuesday morning. Our house was totally filled with laughter and squeals of joy as they played! It was so noisy and so lovely! Rob and I just smiled at each other as I made us coffee as we wouldn’t have heard the other speak above the racket. I had a couple of days off so we baked and played and danced and had fun.

The waiting is difficult. We had a set-back just over two weeks ago. Our documents were all submitted and then we were told that the stamps on the Canadian Notiary signatures were not quite the way Ukraine wanted them done. Our agency has been submitting them this way for 15 years with no issues and no notice prior from the Ukraine that they now want something different. In a week they had two sets of papers come back, ours was the second. It is frustrating! The children are in orphanages waiting and some official half the world away doesn’t like the way a document is stamped. Ah well! nothing we can do about that. We resubmitted and the wait begins all over again. Funny this time I am way more relaxed about it. I am very thankful for that. Maybe I was focusing too much on the future?

Our kiddos here went back to school two weeks ago too. Lots of excitement and nervousness for them about the first day. Some sadness for mom as I waved them off and then it’s back into routine before you know it. Volleyball, youth etc. The inclusion and acceptance of those from other places is so important.

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Off to school for another year.

I have a few days off again. We had hoped that we would be in Ukraine but God has other plans. His timing is perfect. Two weeks ago someone asked about the delay and Rob explained what had happened with our papers. As Rob began to explain the situation to this prayerful supporter, words began coming that he had never before considered.  That these seeming roadblocks were not roadblocks at all but actually the Lord carefully laying out his plan for bringing our new children home.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

Rob said at that very moment he just felt Jesus put His arm around his shoulders and gently tell him “I got this, it is going to be okay.” Rob said it was so real and so comforting that he just started to cry and so did our prayerful supporter! If you know my husband he is not one prone to flights of fancy and this was very real.

God is doing amazing things in our community. Beyond our understanding. He for sure is teaching us to trust Him. Please continue to pray for the children who God will bring into our family that He will protect them in the interim period while we wait. Pray for our paperwork and most of all that His will be done in our lives. In our broken world maybe sometimes we find it difficult to really believe that we have a Maker, Redeemer & Saviour who loves us so totally.  He’s not at all interested in a fancy church building, in rules and regulations, in new flooring and carpets. He is however concerned with things like, am I submitting myself to Him, what have I done today to help the needy, how have I loved others today and am I following what He tells me to in His Word in my daily life by walking in obedience.  I can only answer for me.

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Trish gave me this beautiful gift the other day. She had matching ones made for us. I love it!

 

We Press On Towards The Goal!

It’s sometimes difficult to find time to write as the weather gets nice and a person wants to be outdoors.  Right now it’s just after 0700 am,  the kids are still in bed and my husband has gone to work so here I am, enjoying a coffee and some quite time.

Our family suffered a loss early in the week.  Our cat, Fish, left us after almost 11 years at our home.  We don’t really know how old he actually was.  He came to us as an adult stray, painfully thin with signs of mistreatment and we loved him from the start and he stayed.  I went outside on Monday morning to feed the chickens and he didn’t come out of his little house. He had passed away sometime in the wee hours.  I have to say, I shed a few tears.  I know he was only a cat but he was a faithful friend too.  He was the one who came to meet me when I came home late from work some nights after midnight and rubbed around my legs as if to say ‘hi’ and ‘welcome home’.  He came for walks with us all the time and was so good with our kids and grandkids.  Thankfully Chips joined our family just in time. Rob made a grave and we buried him in the bushes by Niamh’s garden.

Ok! Updates! Some of you have been asking:  Praise items so far:  Our home study is approved and signed off on and completed. Thank You Jesus We paid the last of our Manitoba fees on Tuesday last and we are so thankful to have had those finances on hand to do this. Medicals are completed and signed off on.  In fact, All the paperwork we needed to complete for our dossier is with our agency and out of our hands and hopefully will be on its way to Ukraine very soon.

Our plant fundraiser on the evening of Monday 17th June 2019, was a great success! 13 Ladies gathered at Ivy Ridge Greenhouse in St. Anne, Manitoba to make planters to take home and enjoy.  Trish (and her husband who you may remember are in the final stages of adopting 3 beautiful kiddos) gave up her wedding anniversary and brought along 6 ladies from Pansy to support this!  Thank you Trish (and Mike too who freely gave up his evening with his wife so she could come).  Please continue to pray for them as they prepare to pick up their kiddos in the next few days.IMG_1035

Niamh used her artistic skills and had fun creating Alysons planter and at the end of the evening, something happened that made me cry!  Betty-Ann (Mikes mom and Trish’s mother in law) asked Niamh if she could be her ‘Grandma‘! Niamhs face lit up like a candle and I have to say I was taken aback by Betty-Anns’ generosity in how she has such a big heart to share herself. (For a little background, all our parents live far away and although Niamh gets to see at least one grandma each summer, it’s not the same as having one just down the road).  I know Niamh loves her other grandmas and she loves Betty-Ann too. This is just so cool!

On June 21st and 22nd, our Fund Raising Committee, headed by Alyson and Thea, organized a garage sale to raise funds. The sale did amazing! Marion W. took what wasn’t sold at the first sale and made almost the same amount by having another one at her home a few days later. A HUGE ‘Thank you‘ to everyone who helped, donated and came along to buy to support our adoption! Not forgetting Harold and Dave who helped clean up afterwards. We could not do this without all your generosity! It really does take a village! 

Last Saturday evening was ‘The Man or Mouse Challenge”. Alyson initially had trouble convincing 2 victims (aka volunteers) to compete against each other to walk across Lego and live mousetraps, blindfolded to collect bean bags and bring them to a designated area. Loser got a pie in the face! Anyway, Garth Koop and Trevor Esau bravely took up the challenge and the photos below speak for themselves. Garth was a good sport as he took his pie in the face.

Cake Auction to follow and Devon Peters did a wonderful job as auctioneer! Good job I had to work or I may have gained a few extra pounds. Rob took the kids along and they had fun bidding. I had fun baking 2 Irish Apple Pies before I went to work.

Our Fundraising Committee is taking a well deserved break for July and we will resume again in August with what we hope is a Sponsored Bed Push. Keep following for more details coming soon.

Rob and I are rushing to get our home finished. Bedrooms are almost completed. Conor moved into his new one last week. He was SO excited to have a room to himself that he doesn’t have to share and took great pride in organizing his closet. We are exceeding thankful for how God is working all things out. He has a plan that is WAY bigger than ours.

Niamh has her first summer job. Babysitting niece Sophie one day a week. Shes so pumped she gets paid to do this! Before anyone thinks we take a baby on a quad, she’s just sitting on it for the photo:)

As already said, please continue to pray for our kids in the Ukraine, waiting in an orphanage for us to come for them, for the process that there would be no delays and for the finances that they would come in as needed. For us as a family here and that all would come together in a timely fashion. Let us not focus on the things that don’t matter,

As the Apostle Paul said about his walk with Jesus, in the book of Philippians chapter 3 verses 13- 14. ‘But one thing I do, forgetting what’s behind, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’.  

If you would like to help us with Adoption Volume 2, to provide a forever family for some more Ukrainian Orphans, click on the preceding link.

God You are So faithful!

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭25:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This verse so totally describes this past couple of weeks. First remember that we had shared that some of our paperwork was completed at the end of February. Following that there was multiple revisions and reviews with periods of painful silence. Sharon had completed and mailed the Immigration application and that had been filed at the end of March with the only word back being that it was received and in process. May 30th 2019 we received word that because of the potential number of children that process could be extended . . . not what we wanted to hear.

So June 7th 2019 brought us to 8 weeks since filing of the immigration application, that being the longest the application is supposed to take. We were assured that immigration would be contacted if no word by then. I was really beginning to become exasperated to say the least. On the evening of June 2nd during family devotions I very specifically and boldly began to pray, “Lord, whosever desk that our immigration application sits on give them restless nights until it is completed and sent if it hasn’t been already. Lord I am asking that we have both our immigration papers and the other papers we are waiting on – signed and back by June 7th.”

Every night that was my prayer…each day there was nothing. Friday Sharon and I had been given a gift night at the Hampton Inn in Winnipeg from our mentors, with these same close friends watching our children as we took a much needed break. What an amazing treat! They packed us a box full of our favourite treats that included Cheese and Onion crisps (for Sharon) and Eat-More bars and Cherry Nibs (for me).

So as headed off to the city,  completing a few errands on the way, one of them being picking up our mail . . . And there in our mailbox was a big brown envelope and inside were our immigration approvals for our yet unknown children! Praise You Jesus! 

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The envelope we had been praying for and waiting on.

They had been sent to us and were post marked May 30th!! We had a scheduled meeting with our adoption agency at 1300 and discovered the other paperwork was signed and ready for submission June 10th. What a totally reassuring meeting it was! September SDA appointment is a very real possibility! Keep praying!

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭25:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

If you would like to help us with Adoption Volume 2, to provide a forever family for some more Ukrainian Orphans, click on the preceding link.

‘He has made everything Beautiful in its time’……..Ecclesiastes 3:11

Declan’s book, “A Homecoming” has been printed and is selling well. He is so proud of helping fundraise! ‘Our munchkin’ is quite the entrepreneur! He has sold over 50 copies already and more to come. We just had our friend Cheryl print up 50 more copies so we can have some in stock. It’s a beautiful little story he wrote at school talking about his life in the Orphanage and what it means for him to find a family at last. Declan told us ‘if everyone in the whole world would buy a copy of my book then I would have enough money to pay for all the adoptions in the world and all the children would have a mom and dad”

Just some of the pages from Declan’s book, “A Home Coming”! 

Last week started out with lots of rain Lots of rain! The ground is so dry here that it really needs it. It’s so nice to see the plants growing as tender green shoots come up in our garden.

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Rob making sure the weeds are gone around the potato plants.

I got my flower beds weeded too and thoroughly watered and except for maintenance that is it now until fall. My heart needs rain too. Not actual rain but the softening moisture that comes from reading God’s Word and hanging out with other people who love Jesus.  As I bathe my heart in the words of Scripture I find that softening moisture flood in and God’s Holy Spirit calms me and helps me refocus. It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in turmoil going on around me that I lose focus.  Just as I have to wait on potatoes, corn and carrots to grow, there are things that I can’t control or change or even hurry and I need to be patient and wait. For me that is often a difficult lesson to learn.

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Apple blossoms falling in the flower beds. Spring is here!

Our kids have taken advantage of Springs arrival to get outdoors and enjoy the weather, even the rain! Spring feels like it has been a long time in coming. Sunday before last was only 6 degrees! Not tee-shirt weather yet! The spring clean up in our yard is completed, grass is cut, dead branches stacked and it looks lovely!  The children have had a busy few weeks at school in the last couple of months finishing up Volleyball and Basketball and getting ready for end of year assessments.  I just got an email from Niamh’s teacher today to say that our beautiful daughter has worked so hard at reading and writing English that she has progressed 3 levels! (which is equivelant to 1.5 grades). In her teachers words ‘Niamh’s hard work and determination is just extraordinary and I am so proud of how far she has come this year, so I thought I would pass on the news to you!’ Considering that just over 2 and a half years ago she didn’t have one single word of English, this is quite an accomplishment! 

It’s sad that somethings have to finish as summer comes, not school though. It’s nice to have the children home for a couple of months. But things like Youth, where the children go every Tuesday evening to interact with friends and to have a Bible lesson and the all important cookies and juice! They miss that. We just have to do other fun things to help keep relationships with friends through the holidays when they come. Sunday past we had our church picnic in A.D.Penner Park and the kids had a blast!

(Above Left to Right) Declan and friend Drayton enjoying a snack, Granddaughters Autumn & Blayke, Sack races with Conor and Niamh and finally Declan being silly! 

Rob and I have just been so encouraged by our fundraising committee this week. (Our Mentors in case anyone actually read last weeks blog:) They booked us a night away at a hotel in Winnipeg so we could have a break as a couple. I can’t remember the last time Rob and I did something like this for just the two of us! It’s been a long time anyway. They paid for the hotel, sent me the confirmation by email and are also watching our kids for us at our home! I was in a meeting at work when I read the email and I just let out a big screech and then had to explain why.  No one minded 🙂Wow! Rob says he has never experienced this type of care from friends before. How generous and kind! They “Get” just how stressful all this can be at times and how much work goes into an adoption.

Our youngest child was not so excited by this. Declan asked if he could come too “just to have some mom, dad and Declan time” What a little cutie and what a sweet try at manipulation! We told him not this time! but probably the next one. We already do lots of things with our kids and often have our adult kids included too. Our life is busy but good!  The kids had their first swim in our pool this week. The water is finally warm enough. They had so much fun!

Our chickens love the outdoors too! Easter, our rooster looks a little rough right now. He’s a such a silly chicken sometimes! During winter another hen pulled the feathers out of him and he just stood there and let her! Thankfully they are growing again and we will soon have our beautiful boy back! The hens are free ranging it and eating dandelions and grass. Lovely eggs and so tasty! We are getting about 25 brown, green and blue eggs a day now that they are outdoors.

Rob has been so busy too. Our renovations are just about finished and on top of that, he has added another clinic to his schedule so he will see an extra 15 or so patients every month. That is good for him and busy for him at the same time but it a source of needed income at present. Our fundraising is going well and we are slightly ahead of schedule. We are about two thirds the way to our adoption goal! Praise God!. Our paperwork is out of our hands and now we wait…..and wait…..and wait.  Please pray continued favour on our process.  It is such an incredible blessing and a huge responsibility to be called to adopt orphans and something we never want to take for granted-Ever!IMG_E0200 (1)

I love this quote from Jody Landers. The first time I heard it it actually made me cry!

 

 

If you would like to help us with Adoption Volume 2, to provide a forever family for some more Ukrainian Orphans, click on the preceding link.

WHAT?? Seriously?? OK God!!

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 […]

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.

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Flowers in my garden.

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!IMG_0875

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…

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Niamh with big sister Tracey (mom of Oliver) and our Granddaughter Mila

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.

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‘Bear with me’       At Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg

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!IMG_0877

Update just in: The kitten is officially named……..Meet Chips!

 

If you would like to help us with Adoption Volume 2, to provide a forever family for some more Ukrainian Orphans, click on the preceding link.