Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category

Happy New School Year!

Monday, August 1st, 2016

This is always an exciting time of year.  Planning is complete, new books have been purchased, and the new school schedule/routine is in the final tweaking stage.  Ready or not, our first day of school begins in about nine hours!  This year is going to be very different for our family.  Half of our school-age children will be at home and half will be in school.  Our girls have been home now for a year and a half.  They’ve come so incredibly far over the past 18 months.  They’ve learned to speak English, they’ve adjusted to a new culture, food, and family, they’ve made friends, and they completed a year of homeschooling.  But the fact is, they’re now 6, 6, and 8 and they have no prior education and the past year has been very difficult.  Books and methods that have worked with my other children have not been successful with the girls.  None of them are reading yet, despite trying very hard (Mom and children!) and the longer they’re home the more overwhelmed I get while realizing just how much they’ve missed by not being in a family for the last several years of their life.  As a result, we decided to put the girls in school for a year.  At the end of this school year we will re-evaluate.  The ultimate goal is to bring them back home.  We’re a homeschooling family but right now, this year, we’re calling in reinforcements!  We live out in the country.  Our local public elementary school is in the middle of farm land and peach orchards.  There are less than 250 students in the entire school and they have wonderful intervention specialists that can help us identify where the girls need special help and can get them started with the right tools for success. To be quite honest, I also had a bit of a revelation a few months ago when trying to decide what would be best for the girls for the coming school year.  I’ve never been able to just be their mom.

My other five children have been with me since birth.  I was able to nurse them, sing to them, help them crawl, walk, and talk.  We had fun at the park while casually learning to count and sing their ABCs. I rocked them to sleep and watched them blossom from a baby, to a toddler, to a school age child.  When our girls came home last year after a long adoption process and grueling waiting period we went into survival mode.  We went from four children to seven overnight.  Our daughters didn’t speak a word of English and were coming out of some very traumatic life experiences.  Josh and I were playing the roles of teacher, counselor, referee, nurse, chef, chauffeur, disciplinarian, oh, and parents.  Right around the time that the girls became pretty fluent in English we began our new school year.  They loved having Mommy as their teacher and they soaked up everything I was pouring in.  However, there was so much that simply wasn’t clicking.  I was treating them as if they were on a preschool/kindergarten level but the reality was they really weren’t even there yet.  I began to see that they were missing a solid foundation.  My stress level began to rise as I put pressure on myself to start building that foundation from scratch at a much older age than usual.  My relationship with the girls became strained.  You see, I fell in love with my biological children a day at a time from the moment they were born.  It’s pretty easy to love a tiny little newborn that grew in your belly for nine months.  It’s a pretty different story when you bring three little strangers into your home and family.  Three little strangers, whose pictures you’ve clung to for three years, faces you’ve prayed over and imagined what life would be like when they’re finally home.  Well let me tell you what its like when they finally come home.  It’s hard.  Homeschooling is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Homeschooling and parenting three new strangers who are now living in your home, part of your family, and call you Mommy is hard.  I love my daughters more than life itself but love is an action, not a feeling.  The emotional love often doesn’t come until later, sometimes even years later.  I’m just being honest and real.  So when I began to struggle with feeling loving toward my girls I suddenly realized that I have yet to just be their mom.  After lots of prayer and researching our options we decided upon our local elementary school.  For the first time since I met my daughters, I am going to just be their mom.  Their education will be in the hands of three sweet, qualified ladies just down the street Monday through Friday from 8-2.  I look forward to getting to know my girls on a new level without the pressure of also being their teacher.  We will paint fingernails and have makeover slumber parties.  We’ll go shopping for new clothes and watch chick flicks together.  I kind of feel like I’m going to be the mom of four daughters for the very first time.  We’re all pretty excited.

Well this post evolved into something completely different than I originally intended so I’ll have to write about what we’re doing in our homeschool this year in another post.  However, I want to end with this:  I absolutely love having a large family.  I love adoption and I love our unique family.  As crazy as it is sounds, there’s already talk around here about “the next one” and sweet baby Charlie is only six weeks old!  I always said I wanted nine children so maybe there is one more baby or child that’s meant to be in our family.  Only time will tell.

Blown Away

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I’ve had a few new bow orders come in so I’ve been checking my paypal account daily.  We haven’t had any money come in for about three weeks now, so I haven’t been expecting anything, just a few payments for the bows.  The other night I realized I hadn’t checked my account in over a week so I signed in and was shocked to see a $100 donation from my best friend from high school, thanking us for allowing them to be a part of this journey.  What an incredible blessing!

Then, I’ve had three bow orders placed over the last 48 hours, so I signed on Paypal again just a few minutes ago and I’m pretty sure the blood drained out of my face altogether.  There was a donation made in the amount of EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!  A friend from high school who also has a heart for adoption chose to bless us with a portion of their tax return.  I seriously sat here with goosebumps and tears streaming down my cheeks.  I can’t even begin to put into words how much that lifted my spirits.  I’m on cloud nine.  Over and over again, whether it’s $10 for a puzzle piece or $800, I’m blown away at the generosity of others; of God’s children who see the big picture and share our heart for orphans and as a result use their donations as the hands and feet of Jesus.  Thank you just doesn’t quite capture it.

God Story #4

three down, twenty-one to go (thousand, that is)

 

Bless you, bless you, bless you,

 

~audrey

Puzzle Fundraiser-Week One

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

After only one week, thirty people have already pledged to pray for Zoe, our family, and our journey to Africa by “purchasing” puzzle pieces.  Have you seen the fundraiser thermometer?!  God is just blowing us away every single day.

Yesterday, a man that we don’t even know made a donation with a memo that read:

God bless you and your family.”

We had dinner with a couple last night who have adopted three children and it was a great time of fellowship, encouragement, and a chance for Josh to ask some questions.  God has given me such incredible peace about everything; I can hardly explain it.  When Josh had asked all of his questions last night he looked at me and said, “What are some of your concerns?” I couldn’t think of any; not one.  I literally have no concerns right now.  I’m trusting the Lord to direct us one step at a time and that is where I’m trying to keep my focus.

As long as there are still puzzle pieces without names on the back, I will continue the puzzle fundraiser along with weekly updates.  Thank you for all of you who have already become a piece of the puzzle and are praying for us and helping us share our story.

If you’d like to be a piece of the puzzle, you can find more information here.

~audrey

Surprises

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

My worship leader asked me to prepare something to share with our ladies’ Bible study last night regarding Christie and George and all that God is doing in and through them in Uganda.  She said she thought it would be a good idea to explain how God first led me to Christie’s blog, put an incredible burden on my heart for the orphans in Africa, and ultimately led us to pursue adoption in Ethiopia.  It was a long story so I typed it all out on two and a half pages and read it to the ladies with trembling voice and hands.  At one point I couldn’t even read the words through my tears.  I never intended to get so emotional, but reading God’s story out loud to all of those women for the first time just helped me retrace God’s hand in Zoe’s story and I was completely overwhelmed.

After I finished reading, they prayed for us and then I had to run back to the nursery to relieve my sister-in-law so she could help with worship.  When church was over, I was informed that the ladies took up an offering to help bring Zoe home.  Our church secretary text me this morning:

I have a check for you for a little over $300.  I’ll give it to you on Sunday.

God Story #3!

One of things I love most about this journey of raising money and fully depending on God to provide this impossible amount, is the faith it is building in my boys.  Watching their faces light up in awe of their heavenly Father and his provision for their little sister is priceless.  I hope I don’t forget a single detail of this journey.  May it be written on my heart that God might use Zoe’s story to forever encourage adopting couples to step out in faith and trust Him.

~audrey