Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Just in case you ever wondered just how dedicated I am to my blogger buddies take a look at my computer.
My wonderful husband has ordered me a new lap top. It will hopefully arrive soon. Until then I just try to imagine what is on the other side. Hee hee..
Posted by Angel at 11:55 AM
Monday, August 27, 2007
Hey Blogger Buddies!!! I am so excited about this book club. We have had a LOT of people sign up to participate. I am so thrilled that so many of you want to do this with us. If you haven't signed up you can still go grab your book and catch up. We would love to have you along for the ride. :0) Even if you haven't officially joined up please feel free to comment and participate.
Let's try this system. I will write down my thoughts. Then I will ask a few questions. I encourage you all to comment and give your "two cents." I know we can all learn something from one another.
OK!!! HERE GOES!!!
Steven Curtis Chapman's Forward...
Well... first of all, if you didn't read the forward from Steven Curtis Chapman you will really like that. It is beautiful. When I read it I felt like I was reading my own words. His heart is an adoptive father's heart. Not only that... after seeing the truth during his process of adoption he doesn't want to ignore it anymore. The man is on FIRE to change things. I greatly respect him.
I love this part....
"As my wife, Mary Beth, so clearly put it, "When they handed me Shaohannah, God was more real to me in that moment than He had ever been. It about knocked me down!"
Even as I type this tears fill my eyes. This is my experience. Meeting Zoe was an experience that is hard to describe. It was so deep and personal. I have heard many people say that their experience of meeting their child was the same as giving birth. I can see that... for me it was in some ways like that but still very different.
Seeing Zoe for the first time was one of the most powerful moments of my life. The adoption process was the most powerful year of my life. When I held Zoe in my arms it was not the same as when I held Kaitlyn the day she was born.
When I first saw Kaitlyn it was this overwhelming maternal love. It felt a bit awkward but fairly normal to me. With Kaitlyn my love just kinda grew and grew and I never noticed how strong it was until I realized I couldn't breathe if I thought she might be in danger.
When I met Zoe I felt.... how do I explain this... I felt completely overwhelmed with GOD'S love. It was beyond myself and my ability. I felt like the scales started to fall off my eyes. Suddenly the pain in this world I had seen from the outside I now FELT on the inside. I had stepped into Zoe's pain and her joy the way God steps into our pain and our joy.
The process of loving Zoe has been very different but no less special. In some ways it is more profound. I chose to love my Zoe before I knew her. I loved her before she loved me. There was a day, here in this house, where I knew she had chosen to love me too.
In these moments I have felt like I could understand just a bit more God's love for us. I was living it out on a teeny tiny scale. I was choosing to love this child not because she had my blood in her veins. I simply wanted to love her. It wasn't the same... it was much scarier and a more deeply profound moment in my life.
That moment started a much deeper understanding of God for me. I was experiencing His heart in a new way.
Here is something else Steven Curtis says..
"Now we look at our family, and we can't imagine missing something so key in what it means to walk close with God."
Amen. What more can I say? I am sure many of you have seen this video but if you have not please don't miss it.
The introduction was great too. It is talking about God's idea of treasure. It's encouraging us to search after what is important to God. Here is my favorite part.
Maybe you are thinking, Well that's nice Tom. I want to know what God cares about. But where does excitement and joy come in?"
I think a lot of us have a very limited concept of joy- we tie it to what makes us feel happy. But real joy goes even deeper, and it's not always found in obvious places. Instead it hides in corners, waiting to be discovered when we sacrifice our desires for God's desires."
WOW! This hits the nail on the head. So many of us are roaming around searching for significance in life. We somehow think we will get to that place of meaning if we can just find what makes us happy. Yet God's idea of joy is so different from this search for happiness. We are so scared to let go and sacrifice what we THINK we want. The process can be painful and scary... but on the other side is joy and peace beyond what we could have planned for ourselves.
The First Chapter...
This is a great chapter! If you haven't ordered the book yet you can read part of this chapter in line here http://www.amazon.com/Fields-Fatherless-C-Thomas-Davis/dp/0971410011/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-7618469-5805763?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188229749&sr=8-1
Tom Davis speaks about his first experience working with orphans in Russia.
...The second truth was how much of God's joy could mine when I participated with him in doing something that mattered so much to Him! I had never before experienced God's pleasure and approval as strongly as I did in Russia.
And I had to know why.
As I said earlier I have felt this same thing...that I have suddenly tapped into God's heart in a new way. Yes, I served God before. I have been a passionate Christian since I was very young. Yet here was something much deeper than what I had ever seen or felt before.
Tom goes on to discuss this scripture WHICH I LOVE!
Psalms 68: 5-6
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he brings out those who are bound to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
and this one...
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.
and this one...
"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
UMMMMMMMMM!!!!!! DID THIS VERSE CATCH ANY ONE'S ATTENTION??? WHAT is this talking about??? OUR TITHE???
My hubby Russ and I were studying the old testament together a couple of years back. When we fell upon this verse we were a little floored. This was a little different than what we had been taught.
I don't say much about this verse cause I don't want people to get all riled up. I KNOW! I said I would stop censoring myself. OK here goes.... Now I don't claim to know everything by any stretch of the imagination. So I could be wrong here. It's just that when I read this scripture I don't see anything about having an automatic draft from your account to the church office's account of EXACTLY 10% each month.
It seems to me that YES!!! we are to provide for ministers and their needs. They should be well cared for. I believe we, very often, do this well as a nation.
BUT I have yet to find a percentage named. If you know where that is please point me toward it. Maybe you know Tom!! :0) I have searched to no avail so far. (Krystal has some great thoughts on this in the comment section. Check it out) OK so I decided to google it after reading what Krystal said. Why have I never thought of THAT before DUUUHHH! Anyway... here is something that I found. I thought it was good.
What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?
Question: "What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?"
Answer: Tithing is an issue that many Christians struggle with. In many churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the Biblical exhortation in regards to making offerings to the Lord. Tithing / giving is intended to be a joy, a blessing. Sadly, that is rarely the case in the church today.Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were give 10% of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle / Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5).
Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites of the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).The New Testament nowhere assigns a certain percentage of income to set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
The Christian church has essentially taken the 10% figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. Although the New Testament does not identify a specific amount or percentage to give, it does talk about the importance and benefits of giving. They should give as they are able, “in keeping with his income.” Sometimes that means giving more than a tithe, sometime that may mean giving less than a tithe. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Each and every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom as to whether to participate in tithing and/or for how much he or she should give (James 1:5). “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
The biggest thing I see is this
and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
This specifically states that a LARGE portion of our tithe should be going to these specific groups. Furthermore, it states that we should be active in participating rather than pawning it off on others.
Check this verse out.
"When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
We are supposed to be ACTIVELY participating in helping widows, orphans and strangers. We aren't supposed to write a check to our church every month and pawn it off on them... "Oh I'm sure they will take care of that"...
As Tom states
When you think about God's church, it is extremely important not to picture it as an institution surrounded by walls. The church consists of people who represent the physical body of Christ on Earth. We put flesh to His words and make Him alive to those who are desperate to know He is real.
... Today many well meaning Christians have lost sight of what God cares about most.
"Pure and faultless religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."
"he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given"
Sadly, many of us have taken our hearts out of the equation. We don't want to get messy and in the trenches of what is happening. Yet, that is exactly what God wants from us. Not because He wants us to suffer, because He wants these people to be rescued and loved. WE are God's hands and feet in this world. We can choose to turn a blind eye and continue to be comfortable. Or we can give up what we think we want and experience joy.
Please take a minute to watch this video. It's good stuff.
1 What part of this portion stood out the most to you?
2 Why that part?
3 Do you think the average church in the US is hitting the mark in this area?
4 Why or why not?
Posted by Angel at 10:05 AM
Friday, August 24, 2007
Posted by Angel at 9:30 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
PLEASE KNOW THAT EVERYTHING I WRITE ON THE SUBJECT OF ADOPTING AN OLDER CHILD IS SIMPLY MY OPINION BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL- JUST AN ADOPTIVE MOM.
Hey there! I have had MANY mommies and daddies ask me about my opinions on schooling for older adopted children. In April I wrote an entry about our process of deciding how to educate Zoe. I thought I would re-post it and add to it a little.
When we were in the process of adopting our sweet Zoe I was a little obsessed about the best choice of school for her. I was so nervous about making sure she would be able to catch up with the other children and not feel like she wasn't smart just because she was a little behind the other kids. I researched DOZENS of options. I visited quite a few schools. Finally we went through an interview process and enrolled Zoe in a spectacular Christian school. She was supposed to come home sometime between April-July of 2006. We just knew she would have several months to learn English and bond with us then she would start a part time schedule. JUST PERFECT RIGHT???
Well.... as many of you know that is NOT how things turned out. It took us 5 months of waiting to finally get DNA because of slow lawyers and complications at the US embassy.We passed through April, May, June and their was no sign of Zoe coming home. In June we found out we had been kicked out of PGN and thrown into a rectification process for a minor clerical error. When we were kicked out we were told that because of these complications we should not even expect our Zoe home for Christmas.
For weeks I was devastated. All my visions of Zoe home for the summer and Thanksgiving and Christmas were melting away. I was worn thin emotionally and financially. The thought of another Christmas in the Marriott in Guatemala just "playing" family almost broke me.
I called Zoe's school and literally broke down crying as I explained to the unfortunate soul answering phones that Zoe would not be there in the fall. They were amazing and supportive and told us they would welcome Zoe when we were all ready.
As we prepared to go on a long awaited 2 week trip to Disney World in Oct 2006 our hearts were breaking. We had planned this trip for Zoe and Kaitlyn. We had booked it when we just knew July was a worst case scenario. ALL the grandparents were going. It was supposed to be a special bonding time with all of them.
Now here we were 3 months past our supposed worst case scenario and no end in sight. Then without warning we received a call that our Zoe had been released from PGN! It was crazy and unexpected and WOW! We were only two weeks from Disney and we really thought there was no way she would make it but we had to be ready.
All of a sudden things started FLYING! We got the birth certificate and final signature within a couple of days. We got everything ready for pink and took it with us to Florida. Sure enough... we were walking through Epcot when we received the call to come pick up our daughter. Her pink appointment was in 3 days!!!! I jumped on a plane and got our girl and brought her back to Orlando on Nov 1st.
Her first night in the US was spent in the Magic Kingdom. We didn't do much. Just the carousal and seeing some princesses were enough for Zoe at that point!! Yet just the gift of her being there- of seeing her hugging Mickey Mouse- it was more than we could have hoped for a month before that.
I called the Christian school and enrolled Zoe for the next semester. As we got to know Zoe better I realized that a classroom setting was more than Zoe was ready for at that point. She is so smart but was deathly afraid of making mistakes. She would literally break down weeping if she thought she was about to get a wrong answer. She had never even set foot into a school and hadn't even learned how to spell her name till she was in foster care. I realized that putting her in a group setting in that fragile state could be a huge mistake for our little one. I talked to our social worker and she whole heartedly agreed with our decision.
In fact our social worker told us that she was greatly relieved. She said that in her many years of experience (she has been in adoption for MANY years and is awesome) the majority of attachment issues happen when adopted children are immediately placed in full time care or school after coming home. Her opinion was that when it is possible it is highly beneficial for the child to have as much time as possible at home with a parent. As an adoptive mom this has been my experience as well when speaking with other adoptive parents.
Of course there are many children who will cope well with the transition even when placed in care. What I am saying as that WHEN I have heard of people having trouble (which is rather rare) this was usually the circumstance. In fact I have seen children immediately bond when removed from full time care and brought home when they would not bond for a year previously.
Knowing Zoe's personality we felt it was especially important to keep these statistics in mind. She is very sweet and tender hearted. She is easily intimidated and at that time had very little self confidence.
Just learning to function in a safe family has been a huge thing for Zoe. Learning to speak English has been a huge thing for Zoe. Learning to not be afraid to make mistakes has been huge. Being allowed (and forced) to think for herself has been a huge thing for Zoe. Learning to read in English, learning to write in English, learning Math at an advanced rate.... these things were going to be so much anyway. We had to be careful not to overwhelm her.
The most important thing for Zoe was to BOND with us. Learning to be a part of our family is infinitely more important than her multiplication tables. We know that each child is different and respect each family's decisions for their children. Parents know their children better than anyone. It was our job to know Zoe.
For Zoe we knew that her first year she needed to be with us as much as possible. Just like a newborn she needed to learn that we would take care of her and she could trust us. We knew that she needed that kind of security before she could have the courage to take off on her own. So we decided I would home school for this semester and she would go to school next school year if she was emotionally ready. Again the school was completely supportive and wonderful. (did I mention I adore them???)
We decided these were our goals.... Zoe would do two years of Math curriculum in 8 months. She would be fluent in English. She would be able to read on a beginner first grade level in 8 months. She would be able to write simple sentences independently. She would be able to receive instruction and correction without weeping. She would be able to fail without fear. She would be securely bonded to our family and confident in herself.
I am so proud of our girl. We accomplished every one of those goals except the Math. We are still working on the second year and getting there. She is amazing. I am just so proud I could bust!
Posted by Angel at 9:39 AM
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
So Zoe's first day went great! According to her she had a wonderful day!
When I dropped her off in the morning she just bounded off as happy as a lark. I felt a little choked up watching her go. Thank goodness it's only two days a week or I probably would have lost it completely. I am SO not ready for that. :0)
Kaitlyn and I had a great day together. We ran all over creation getting errands accomplished. So that was good.
At 3:45 Kaitlyn had her dance class. As you will remember this was only our second time at this dance studio. I had a brilliant plan. Since Zoe's classes end at 4:00 I would deliver Kaitlyn to her class, drive to pick up Zoe and get back to watch the end of KK's ballet class. Zoe's school is pretty close to the studio. Still I have never left Kaitlyn at anything like that and was kind of nervous. I told myself to quit being so silly.
I took her to class and asked one of the moms if she would make sure she got back to class if she left to go potty. She said sure. I took off to Zoe's school. As I was chugging along I came to the terrifying realization that the side of the highway leading back to Kaitlyn's dance studio was STOPPED. STOPPED!
I am a stay at home mom. I am not used to driving in rush hour traffic. It had never occurred to me that traffic could be an issue. Not only that... they are working on the highway and it is down to two lanes. (It is going to be 6)
I started to panic but told myself 45 minutes should be plenty of time. It took me 15 minutes to get to Zoe's school... I waited in the carpool for 10.... I rushed back to the highway and STOPPED! NOOOOOO!!!
I suddenly realized I had only minutes till my precious little 4 year old was released from class into a mob of students and teachers and I was NOT GOING TO BE THERE! Not only that - I did not have the phone number of the studio. BAD MOMMY! BAD! BAD! MOMMY!!! Trying not to panic I called information. They, of course, could not find the number.
I called my friend practically bawling and asked her to look it up. She did that and said she would hop in the car with all THREE of her kids under 4 and rush to the studio. (she doesn't have to get on the highway from her house so it's quick) By this time I knew class was over and I started frantically calling to let the teacher know what was happening. Called once... no answer... twice...no answer...three times....nope....four times.....
Now I was trying not to imagine all the horrible scenarios. I was just praying and begging God to take care of my little baby since I am such a complete moron!!!! I was on the verge of tears when my friend called me to say she was there and had Kaitlyn- safe and sound. She said she walked in and Kaitlyn was sitting all prim and proper on the bench waiting. Her friend's mommy had noticed I wasn't there and waited with her.
I just broke down bawling. I am seriously protective of my kids. Leaving her like that was really out of the norm for me. My friend and I just sat there while I recovered enough to drive. KK was just playing as oblivious as ever!
Finally I gathered myself enough to get home. I immediately called Russ and cried for the next ten minutes. He was extremely sympathetic and sweet. Needless to say, I will NOT be leaving her again for a VERY long time. (Like when she is old enough to drive herself home! Hee hee just kidding... kind of) Russ is going to pick Zoe up on Tuesdays so I can stay with Kaitlyn.
Yikes... Mommy trauma... Angel
Posted by Angel at 5:12 PM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Posted by Angel at 7:55 PM
Friday, August 17, 2007
Zoe: "No, I tink it make me sad if talk wif her with de phone."
Me: "Ohhh.. yes it will probably be hard. It doesn't mean it's bad though. You keep thinking about whether your heart is ready. That is a big decision."
Me: "Do you have lots of friends that are different colors or are they all the same?"
Zoe: "My friend is all different colors! I haf a one friend that she is like me but more darker fan me. I haf a friend is same as me. I haf one friend is like.....more morning."
Me: "You mean she is lighter?"
Zoe: "Yes LIGHTER!"
Me: (giggling inside) "That's great. So you have lots of different colors of friends."
Zoe: "Yes, but I don't know any of dem names."
Me: (giggling again cause she is just as bad as me about names) "How do you feel about your skin? Does it ever bother you that it is different than mommy and daddys?"
Zoe: "NOOO! I like dis color cause it match all of my clothes and de nail stuff dat is red. It is dark and beautiful."
Me: (now BEAMING inside) "You are right. You DO have beautiful skin. So many people that look like me want to be darker like you."
Zoe: "I don't lay in de sun. It hot! You haf more question mommy?"
Me: "Nope. Do you have anything else you wanna tell me?"
Zoe: "No. I gonna go now wit KK to Guatmala and Afwica."
Me: "OK! Have fun."
Zoe: "OK! Bye Momma."
Posted by Angel at 6:28 PM
PLEASE KNOW THAT EVERYTHING I WRITE ON THE SUBJECT OF ADOPTING AN OLDER CHILD IS SIMPLY MY OPINION BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL- JUST AN ADOPTIVE MOM.
Question- How has the age span between Zoe and KK been. I am in the process of adopting a girl who on paper is 2 1/2, but actually I think she is either 3 1/2 or possibly even 4 1/2. If she is the oldest age that will make her 3 years older than my dd at home. So I am wondering how the age difference between the girls have affected their relationship.
Answer- My girls are about 4 years apart in age. I wasn't sure how the age difference would work. It has worked beautifully so far. I think one thing to keep in mind that the majority of adopted children will be much less mature emotionally and in some cases developmentally.
She has matured emotionally at a rapid rate. She has been home nine months. Now she is past Barney and on to Hannah Montana and High School Musical. :0) She likes clothes that are much more like what a girl her age would wear. She still loves Barbie and coloring and playing pretend though.
Part of her still being young is because no one has told her it isn't cool to play pretend. No one has told her it's not cool to play with her younger sister. I love that she is just soaking in being a child.
I think with discipline and instruction this age span can be great!
Posted by Angel at 4:17 PM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
You aren't going to believe this. Seriously... JUST GUESS WHO E-MAILED ME!
COME ON EVERYBODY! It's not too late to join in. You can order your book now.
We will start the book club on Monday August 27th. I will post my thoughts on the first chapter and you can all chime in. We might even get some great insight from Tom Davis himself. We will have the official question & answer blog post at the end of the book club.
To check out Tom's blog click here http://tomdavis.typepad.com/
You can even enter to win a free mission trip to Swaziland on his blog today. OH MAN! I already entered... How amazing would that be?
Swaziland, Africa is one of the main places where Tom Davis is involved. They are in a HUGE AIDS crisis. They need help desperately and that is what Tom and his organization are trying to provide.
ALL RIGHT!! Let me know if you are joining. You can leave a comment or e-mail me if you have trouble. email@example.com
LATER! :0) Angel
Posted by Angel at 6:40 PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
As it was the adjustment was beautiful. Zoe is a perfect fit for our family in every way. She is an amazing big sister. She is just one more person that dotes on Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn LOVES that.
Posted by Angel at 9:46 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
Posted by Angel at 7:30 PM
I have had some of my friends confess that they feel a bit technically challenged. They do not know how to leave comments on my blog. NO FEAR my friends. NO SHAME! We can work on that. Since I want you all to be able to participate in the book club here is a little comment leaving tutorial. It's not too hard. Here goes.
1. Go to the bottom of the post and click on the link that says 0 comments or 12 comments (if I'm lucky!)
2. A little window should pop up where you can leave your comment and read everyone else's comments. (if it doesn't pop up make sure your pop up blocker is not on)
3. Write your comment in the little box that says "Leave Your Comment." (make sure to sign your name so we know who you are)
4. Go down to where it says "choose an identity." Push the circle that says anonymous.
5. Push the button that says " Publish Your Comment."
YAY! YOU DID IT! :0) If you have never left a comment before I encourage you to try it. It's easy. Come on.... everybody's doin it!! Hee hee hee....
Posted by Angel at 7:04 PM
I have had many wonderful people contact me wanting my input and experience on what it is like to adopt an older child from a foreign country. I am thrilled that so many of you out there are pondering this possibility. In response to this need I am going to start a series on adopting an older child. Please feel free to leave a comment with any specific questions you would like me to answer. I will write as many posts as I needed to address all the questions. Then I will have a link for all the posts so that I will have them available for those with questions in the future. I'll get cracking soon! :0) Angel
Posted by Angel at 6:06 PM