Archive for the ‘children’ 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.

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

Let the Journey Begin

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

As you can see, Josh gave me a makeover!!  It is still a work in progress, but we’re heading in the right direction and I LOVE IT!  If you’d like to share our story, you can link to the Adoption page at the top.  We should have a button for “Our Journey to Africa” very soon.

It is fun to see Josh sharing in my excitement to get everything started.  Little Joshua saw our fundraiser thermometer and said, “TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!?! HOW WILL WE EVER BRING ZOE HOME IF IT COSTS THAT MUCH?”  I just smiled and reassured him that God equips his saints for that which He has called them.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Right now I have a bin of clothes I’ll be selling at a children’s consignment sale next month.  I have two large stacks of books to bring to 2nd and Charles where they’ll give cash for used books.  There are several pieces of furniture that I’m going to put on Craig’s List, and our first yard sale is in the works.  Once our home study updates are complete, we’ll be able to begin applying for adoption grants and the big fundraisers will begin.  We will stand on God’s word and walk in obedience as we take this giant leap of faith.

Let the journey begin!

~audrey

Unofficially Official

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

God has been working in our (mine and Josh’s) hearts for the past few weeks.  My heart has been completely torn up for Africa since God directed me to the blogs of Christie and Katie.

Let me retrace our steps…

We settled on an adoption attorney in South Carolina for various reasons and anxiously awaited all of our paperwork.  Two weeks have passed and we have yet to receive anything from the attorney’s office.  Our foster agency was going to go ahead and send our home study to the attorney’s office, but the girl who was going to put it in the mail was out for a few days last week because her children were sick….

ENTER:  GOD….

On our way to pick up the boys from my parent’s house on Sunday, Josh began asking me questions about the whole adoption process and whether or not I was sure about the road we were taking (domestic adoption).  I told him I was still praying for every step of the journey and that if he had any reservations he needed to speak up.

He began telling me how he felt about domestic adoption after all that we’ve learned in the past month.  Domestic adoption has long lines of couples without children, waiting to get the call that there’s a baby for them at the hospital.  Basically saying that all of these babies will have a home and a family.

This is where he shocked me.  He went on to say that he feels a family like ours (already having three biological children and wanting who-knows-how-many more) should be rescuing babies from orphanages in third world countries where there really is no promise of a home or family.

That’s when I hit him with the question that was just DYING to come out of my mouth:

Do you mean we can go to Africa!?

This is where my heart was thumping out of my chest and God just confirmed every ounce of anguish I’d been feeling inside for all of those beautiful African faces that I see each time I close my eyes.

Oh Lord, did you really change his heart THAT fast!?

Indeed He did.

We spent hours on the computer with the boys that night watching videos of African adoptions, learning about the different villages where God has sent missionaries, and researching agencies who work with Africa.  We found All God’s Children International and completed the pre-application to see if we meet their requirements.

Today at 2:37, I got a call from AGCI to let us know we’re approved for their Ethiopia program!  We’re going to have to wait a few months before submitting our official application because approximately $9,000 will be due within 90 days of applying.  We’re working hard to continue paying off debt and will begin to sell everything that’s not nailed down in order to raise the first $9,000 and get the process going!  I have complete peace for the road ahead and I’m overjoyed and excited to watch God move in our journey to Africa. We will begin our fundraising right away in the form of yard sales, Parents’ Night Out events, and selling hair bows that I began making back when we were trying to adopt our two little girls out of foster care.

Please continue to pray for us in the months ahead.

We give God all the glory and continue to seek His wisdom and direction every step of the way.

~audrey