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147 Million Orphans Blog
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Saturday, October 24, 2009
I couldn't resist posting this video clip! (don't kill me Katie!) I couldn't help but think "this type of thing is universal". There are pros and cons to your children dressing themselves...hahaha. (I am just glad we caught it before we got to church.)
Adoption has changed my WHOLE perspective on life. Mike and I sought much counsel while in the process of our first transracial adoption. I am so thankful that the Lord gave us friends to speak truth to us about how some things were JUST GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. After adopting for the SECOND time, just the sheer numbers of my children changed how I spend my time, and where I prioritize. Because I knew that Josie was coming home this year( and did not know what her needs were going to be) I did not sign up for anything "extra" at school or church. Now that I have a window of time to breathe, I look around and people are feeling guilty or "lazy" for resting because we live in such a "wired" world. We are CALLED to rest in the Presence of our Saviour. Rest is one of the things that HE made VITAL for us. The past few weeks 1)because 5 out of my 6 have had swine flu and 2)because I have been so anxious about Josie not being here with me, I have been FORCED to stay home and rest in HIS peace. Through scripture I have found that HE has chosen ME for this road that I am walking more for my WEAKNESSES than my STRENGTHS. My weaknesses amplify my need for HIM...and boy do I need him these days.
This week was parent teacher conferences. I had the best teacher conferences that I have EVER had! When I am asked questions on "parenting" my number one advice is "focus on their heart". SAYING that and DOING that are two totally different things! PERSPECTIVE has been HUGE for me through this road with Josie Love. With each of my children's teachers we spent a FEW minutes talking about their academics and the rest of the time talking about their hearts. I said to each teacher.."grades are important and I am so glad that they are doing well, we can focus a little more to bring this or that grade up, but what I REALLY care about is his/her heart. How do they treat others? Are they respectful to you?" It was the best feeling to leave each room KNOWING that each teacher KNEW where I stand on my children's well-being. It had less to do with academics, NOTHING to do with ball, gymnastics, dance etc......BUT do you see Jesus in their hearts? We talked about the weeks that I was in Africa and how it had affected each one. We talked about the journey that our family is going to be on once Josie Love arrives. The number one issue is the hardship that it will bring. (in MANY capacities) I was able to affirm them that Mike and I had talked about it and we feel that hardship is actually a good thing. We spend half of our lives trying to keep our children from having any hardship......WHY? Hardship is what draws you to Christ. Hardship is what "grows" you. Hardship is when you CLING to HIS promises that He will NEVER leave you NOR FORSAKE you. NO hardship=No need for Christ.
Speaking of Josie Love...she got her "exit papers from Uganda! YIPPPEEEEE! We are working with Project Hopeful to get her home asap.....4 weeks, if not sooner! LOVE ME SOME PROJECT HOPEFUL!
Friday, October 16, 2009
I have the most amazing family. I grew up in a home where my mom and dad love each other, put each other first, and keep Christ in the center of their marriage. At the time, I just thought that everyone had a family like mine. As time passed, I realized that is not the case. My family is actually rare, AND I HAD NO IDEA. I have spoken of my husband and how perfect he is for me. The first time I went to meet his family, I could not believe it... THEY ALL HUG WHEN YOU WALK IN THE DOOR! I thought that only happened at my house. The first of MANY things that our families have in common. God being the first and foremost of importance in both homes...RARE. It is because of our families that Mike and I were able to go to Uganda together for two weeks and leave our six children behind...RARE. A BIG ole thanks to Mom, Susan, MaMa Gaye , and Dana for loving my children so well while we were away. My Dad's motto has always been "you can't let circumstances control you". He spoke that to us on a daily basis, and it has stuck with me through the years. In different scenarios (flat tire, car breaking down, sick kids etc...)I have LITERALLY spoken it ALOUD to myself or to my children and Mike. What a optimistic way to walk through life. What a positive perspective for me to have seen role modeled daily. What a blessing my family is.
When Mike and I were praying about adopting Josie Love, we were filled with a mixture of emotions. We were trying to figure out what our lives would be like with a "special needs" child and six other children. Logistically speaking, how is this REALLY going to work? I found myself speaking optimistically to most people because I could tell by the look on their faces that they thought I had lost my mind for EVEN thinking about another child. Which leads me to my mother's motto "your children are the ONLY thing that you can take to heaven with you". Boy, I have used that saying MANY times out of frustration with people that think I actually CARE what THEY think about how large my family is. After the first few children, peoples faces just start glazing over, it's quite comical actually! (that is another post in itself) One day Mike and I were mentally processing Josie's adoption with some dear friends. On this particular day, I was not speaking very optimistically. I was trying to figure out what my life was going to REALLY look like....which is HYSTERICAL to me now. My friend (Rachel) said "Just remember...OBEDIENCE TRUMPS WORST CASE SCENARIO" how those words have rung in my ears the past few weeks. Mike even spoke them aloud while we were in Uganda. After the news of Josie's health issues, my mind was taking me to "the worst case scenarios "once we returned to Tennessee, and Mike said "obedience trumps ALL of that". I still haven't figured out why Obedience has to rock your world TO THE CORE.(typically) I think the definition for obedience ought to be:the refiner's fire...so much pain.
I have been at total peace with Josie Love being with Christene and Katie. Mike and I have been so busy with our kids and paperwork stateside, that we have just now been able to come up for air. My heart is beginning to ache. I want to hold my baby girl. I want to rock her. ( I do not remember seeing any rockers while in Uganda, has she EVER been rocked?) My baby girl needs to be rocked and hear her mommy sing worship songs. She needs me to put my "magic lotion"on her beautiful dark skin so that it will shimmer. She needs to be sleeping on my pink satin pillowcase that I bought her so that the cotton sheets won't break her hair. She needs me to doctor her booboos. Or is it ME that needs all of those things? I long to hold her and kiss her face. Her paperwork is moving along. Pray that she will be home soon. Pray for my heart, that I will be obedient in the VERY worst case scenarios. OBEDIENCE TRUMPS WORSE CASE SCENARIO......
Sunday, October 11, 2009
When Katie is in the US we (Katie Gwen and I) always meet at the YMCA. While we are on the elliptical we solve ALL of the worlds problems(hahaha) We DO try to at least "put a dent" in the worlds orphan crisis. One of the many things that Katie has challenged us to do is "look different." hhhhmmmm....what exactly does that mean? Our friendship is such a "God thing". We laugh, CRY, exercise, EAT (chocolate), work (Amazima and 147 Million Orphans), and share our hearts with each other. We boldly challenge each other to follow CHRIST's plan for our lives...in which MOST cases doesn't look like OUR plan. We have a scripture that we use as the foundation of our friendship. We pray this scripture and ask the Lord to weave it into our hearts and lives. I thought I would share it with you all. With this post there is a DISCLAIMER.....Be careful what you pray!(hahaha)
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. OPEN UP YOUR LIVES. LIVE OPENLY AND EXPANSIVELY.
2Corinthians 6:11-13 (Message Bible)
The past few weeks while in Uganda the WWJD bracelet kept coming to mind. The term "what would Jesus do?" kept ringing in my ears. Jesus lived OPENLY and EXPANSIVELY while here on earth...ALL the WAY to the cross. When I heard the TB and HIV results on Josie....WWJD? I was fearful driving into the Karamajong village.....part of me wanted to tell Katie "you go ahead, I'll be waiting in the car"....WWJD? As we were holding Gloria in our arms, not knowing if her sickness was contagious....WWJD? As I walk down the streets of Jinja and a small child asks for money...WWJD? It became my motto while in Africa. Now that I am at home, I find myself asking the same question...WWJD? For some reason it is much harder to react the way Jesus would here in the states. It is just so comfortable here. In Africa you are already so out of your comfort zone, it seems easier to step out in faith there. If you want to open your life and live expansively....ask yourself that question AND not in just the scenarios that you are comfortable with.....in ALL scenarios. I am a work in progress and so I would LOVE for you all to join me in pursuing this daily....misery loves company. (ha)
Now, it is NOT so hard to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this little angel. This video is one of our MANY trips to Kampala for medical treatment. Auntie Renee, Mike and I oohing and gooing over sweet Josie Love.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Aaaaahhhhh.....how sweet it is to be home in the arms of my husband and children....Uuuuuhhhhh how my heart aches to bring Josie love home also. I KNOW that the Lord's timing is the BEST timing, so I will cling to that for now.
I have had MANY questions reguarding adoption in Uganda. There is MUCH that I DO NOT know, but I will share what I DO know. Everyone's adoption process is different. (Just like every pregnancy is different) My family heard about Amani Baby Cottage in Uganda through Katie Davis. She highly recommends Amani but will be the FIRST one to tell you that Uganda is unpredictable when it comes to adoption because their "time frame" doesn't really run parallel with "American time frame." She will also tell you that her time at Amani helped shape her for what she is doing today. (She volunteered at Amani her first trip to Uganda) Amani is absolutely breath taking. It has a HUGE yard for the children to play, toys to ride, swings, and The Nile is right across the street. It is CLEAN and the caretakers are Ugandan women that love and play with the children. They have an adoption coordinator, Amy Blevins, who has been a total God-send to Mike and I. She volunteers at Amani and she works so hard. The trips that we made to Kampala for all of Josie's medical and paperwork were HARD and she led us through it! The hardest thing for all of us during our stay was the unpredictability of the legal matters/time frame. In America, there seems to be more of a "system" on how to accomplish most things. Uganda not necessarily......hahaha.
Uganda is in the beginning stages of figuring this whole "adoption thing"out. Over time, I'm sure they will iron out all of the wrinkles. If you want to go through an agency for an African adoption, go to Ethiopia. It seems to be a little more predictable. They have more of the legal matters/time frame in place... I believe. My advice for Uganda: I would highly recommend Amani Baby Cottage, PRAY that the Lord guide you in this decision, and KNOW that it is going to be a HARD journey. UNDERSTAND that Amani or any other babies home has NO control over the time frame. You are totally at the governments mercy! Also, know that this is just my opinion.
Adoption is the road less traveled and there is a reason for that. IT is a TRAGEDY. For domestic adoption, there is a birthmother that is leaving a child behind...HEART WRENCHING. For International adoption, (typically) a child has been abandoned, and his/her heart KNOWS that and LONGS for a mommy and daddy. IT IS NOT EASY and prepare for your heart to BREAK several times along the road. If you want to feel the Lord's presence more than ever, see the face of Jesus in a child, and experience the HEARTBEAT of Christ TAKE the road less traveled. I've done it three times and will be FOREVER changed.
Friday, October 2, 2009
When you are back on ground level, you can face your circumstances from a humble perspective. If you choose supernatural responses this time-trusting and thanking Me-you will experience My unfathomable Peace....Jesus Calling for today.
So, I am sitting in the Amsterdam airport waiting for my connecting flight, and feel as though I am back on "ground level." It wasn't until now, that I was able to look back on the past 3 weeks and realize just how exhausted (mentally, emotionally, and physically) that I truly am. Renee has been laughing at me. I am in COMPLETE lala land. I slept the ENTIRE 8 hour flight, she had to wake me up to tell me we were landing. We have a 3 hour layover so I thought I would give a little recap of some of my time in Uganda.
I promised some of you guys that follow Katie's blog (Renee Click) that I would post some pictures that go along with some of her stories. Here is a picture of Michael. To jog your memory.....he is the little boy that Katie and Ben brought back to Katie's to nurse him back to health. He was so malnourished that his hair was white and had open wounds on his feet. how cute is he?
She also told the story of how ill Patricia was when her mother brought her to Katie. She had been sleeping atop a trash pile in her mud hut. Patricia's mom collects plastic to sell for money. She keeps all of the trash that she finds in her house with a lock on the door, so no one will take it. This is her primary means of money.
I bought a book on the lugandan language at the airport yesterday. I think I might have a bit to learn.I have had Josie Love with me most of the week transitioning her from Amani to being with Christene. I have been changing her diapers, bathing,and feeding her since Monday. It is really neat to see the connnection between Christene and Josie. Their communication is so sweet...mostly in Lugandan.Yesterday, after doing our last bit of paperwork in Kampala, I handed Josie Love to Christene. Christene exchanged a few words with her (none of which I understood). Christene quickly excused herself and said that Josie needed to go to the restroom........RESTROOM? WHAT? BUT SHE IS NOT POTTY TRAINED?!?!?! Amy (Amani's adoption coordinator) said "she is potty trained, they always put them on the potty after meals, she CAN use the restroom". We laughed and laughed. Hence, the reason to buy a book on the Lugandan language. LOVE MY LIFE!
Mary Pat and I have decided that Katie needs a LARGER vehicle. Preferably one that is four wheel drive, since it is inevitable that she is going to get stuck each time she enters that villages. Is there such a thing as a 4 wheel drive 15 passenger van? How do this many people fit in one NORMAL size toyota van? This is Sunday morning, on our way to church.....
Here are a few of Katie's girls in their 147 Million Orphans tees ready for bedtime. I LOVED seeing these girls sleep in our tees every night....
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Many people spend a lifetime or a small fortune searching for someone who understands them. Yet I am freely available to all eho call upon My Name, who open their hearts to receive Me. This simple act of faith is the beginning of a lifelong love story. I, the Lover of your soul, understand you perfectly and love you eternally......
That was my Jesus Calling. Upon Mike's departure, I found myself thinking "what am I going to do? He is the only one that TRULY understands my heartache." My husband was made PERFECTLY for me. There have been many times in our marriage that I have had to repent for feeling that I love Mike more than my sweet Saviour. He is more than I could have ever asked for in a husband AND a father. Those words from Jesus Calling have given me comfort while Mike has been gone. He DOES love me more than I can fathom. He IS the Lover of my soul. And believe me, I am not so easy to love sometimes. I am TRULY excited about the journey that He has called my family to walk. I KNOW that it is going to be hard. I KNOW that my heart is going to break OVER and OVER again. I KNOW that MOST people that I see on a daily basis are not going to understand my JOY that I already feel that can come only from my sweet Saviour. I cannot wait for you to meet this sweet little angel that the Lord has blessed us with. SHE IS A S-T-I-N-K-E-R!! (In the south that means mischievous)
My boys (Joshua and Caleb) love Dora the Explorer. I brought the DVD for Josie. Our last night here with Katie we had a "Dora Night". Mary Pat (Katie's mom, my roomie) helped give Josie a bath.....she LOVES her a bath! She squeals constantly. Katie's girls have decided that they like Dora also. So I "americanized" them for a little while, set up my laptop and you should hear them all sing! They love it! Renee and I are flying out tomorrow night. I cannot wait to see my family. I cannot STAND the thought of leaving Josie Love. Pray for my heart. I am at a total peace about leaving her with Auntie Christene. She loves Christene and Katie with all of her heart. That still doesn't keep my heart from breaking at just the thought of getting on a plane without her.
- I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.