Thursday, February 26, 2009


Seriously, I left the girls for a couple minutes to throw in a load of laundry. They were trying on all our shoes at the side door behind the gate when I left them. When I got up the stairs, I saw the door to my tupperware cabinet open and Sarah sitting on the floor holding a couple lids looking at me like, "What? I didn't do this!"
I was about to shut the door to the cabinet to go find what Emily had gotten into when I suddenly saw Emily INSIDE the cabinet smiling so VERY proud of herself!! I was cracking up... as she was obviously the "mastermind" behind this scheme.
They were having so much fun, like any good mother, I grabbed my camera and sat down on the floor and enjoyed a very entertaining show : )

Sarah started getting more brave about reaching into the cabinet now that it was apparent little sister Emily wasn't getting in trouble.

You would think they were reaching for GOLD!

Emily was constantly throwing me smug smiles of satisfaction!
.... and a wave here and there!

Sarah wouldn't give me the time or day no matter what kind of circus I put on to get her to smile for me!

I truly think Emily thought she could climb through the back of the cabinet.

Almost all the goods have been thrown on the floor now...

... but wait, "what's this for, Mom?"

Better climb back in just to give it one more look!

FINALLY... got a cheese from Sarah

Emily didn't know what do with all the great toys she was finding!

I think this thing is completely cleaned out.

After all their hard work, they enjoy all their treasure at last!
Moral of the story: Never underestimate what two 1yr.olds can accomplish together!!!

**Not to forget about the boys......We got a chance to take Caleb and Zach to an ISU b-ball game with their cousins thanks to some free tickets from friends and aunt Chris' willingness to watch the girls!!

Zach slept through the whole second half and only woke up for double overtime.... didn't know it then, but he had strep!

Caleb and cousin Alex

... and the rest of the gang, Sam, Joe and Abby : )
It was fun night!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bathtime memories

**I'm tired of COLD!!!! ....changing my blog design just made me feel better : ) Besides, busy little bees only seemed fitting for the season of life we're living right now... although destructive tornados might be a better description for my two almost one yr. olds!!!! **

As far as bathtime memories.... the smell of a clean baby lathered up in Baby Magic and the vision of my little ones wrapped up like small papooses is a favorite and something I aimed to capture over the years with all my kids.... these years just go WAY too fast!!

My first little papoose

Caleb 2001

Little papoose #2

Zachary 2003

My girly papooses : )

Sarah and Emily 2009

These pics are taken right outside our bathroom door. I lay their towels on the floor and then get them out of the tub one at a time, bundle them and go back for the next one. This way they can't get away from me!!!

I love these little girls!

One of these days I'll print and frame a black and white version to join their brothers on my bathroom wall to complete the decor : )

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The OTHER woman

Adoption has so many sides and angles and truly is a complex arrangement. So often this process is viewed from only the adoptive family's perspective...... as has our adoption. It is difficult to understand or relate to someone and their situation without having lived it personally no matter WHAT you are talking about. But today, I'm thinking about the OTHER woman in adoption.

There are lots of stereo-types out there surrounding this woman.... words like; irresponsible, desperate, alone, immature, young, poor, sick etc. Yet, we all know a stereo-type can't possibly define every birth mother out there nor is it fair to do so.

Why am I thinking about this today? Because the last 5 days God has given me the opportunity to see adoption from a neutral and objective perspective.

I received a call last Thursday from a friend of an OBGYN. She asked if I could find a godly, Christian home for a baby girl to be born in less than 2 weeks. Wow! Never gotten a call like that before!!!

After a couple phone calls, we found a family! Over the course of the next few days, there was a very anxious and cautiously excited family on one hand and a birth mother who seemingly was apathetic about pursuiing the next steps on the other. And as of last night, the whole thing fell apart when the birth mother discovered they were all from the same town and without telling her OB, had contacted an adoption agency.

That was NOT the kind of phone call I wanted to make to this sweet adoptive family. Oh, the heartbreak : (

It is easy for me to relate with the adoptive family.... I've been there, I know that position. But what about the OTHER woman??

I can't tell you how many times I would feel angry, confused and hurt when I thought about certain details of Sarah's birth mom's interview process. Quite honestly, these are things I still don't understand as a mother myself but they are things God has finally given me peace over and helped me to accept.

A HUGE part of that acceptance was the day we received our 2nd packet(the 1st one was confiscated by Customs) in the mail with all of Sarah's adoption paperwork. All of you adoptive families know that this packet is like GOLD!!

I'll never forget sitting at my kitchen table watching Sarah munch on some cheerios as I read the social worker report...... my first and only glimpse we'll ever have of Sarah's biological mother and father. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about reading the desperate, sad story of Sarah becoming fatherless in a factual little paragraph written between mountains of legal paperwork. In that moment, ALL of who Sarah was and is became very real to me. Her previous life could not be denied. I could not love Sarah without loving her birth parents too. They were now as much a part of me as my new daughter is a part of me and forever will be.

Considering the OTHER woman can bring out insecurities too. I know I also struggled from time to time throughout our entire process with who's the "real mom". These thoughts can produce in a woman a feeling of being threatened or even a feeling of threat for her adopted child( you know, that mama bear feeling ). The truth is that the birth mom and the adoptive mom both play God-ordained roles in a child's life. The thing with insecurity is the desire to want to claim something as "MINE". However, when all is said and done, the only ONE that can claim a child as truly His, is the Lord.

So, I'd have to say this experience the last few days has been a good one, despite the outcome not being my plan. I've been privileged to objectively view adoption personally unattached. I have been able to see those raw feelings from the prospective adoptive mom that I so easily relate to, I've had a peek at the reality of the situation a birth mother might find herself in, and I've experienced a moment of being that facilitator(social worker if you will) wanting to see a happy ending for one precious child of God. What a crazy week!

Thank you Lord for helping me to love Sarah's birthmother and once again reminding me to see things from your perspective!

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's over....

.... but God is still at work!!
The conference on Saturday went extremely well! PTL!!! Various sources told me we had between 100-150 people attend. There were no major glitches and hey, I didn't end up in the hospital(like last year) : )
Almost as soon as the conference was over, I read the comments/suggestions left by conference attendees. I was surprised by how much feedback we received. Overwhelmingly positive things were said... mostly about how great all the speakers were and the amount of resources they acquired. In fact, the only complaint reported was that there was not enough time to go to more electives or talk with more adoptive families.... pretty good problem to have I think!
..... that they wanted MORE!
Due to a choice of only 2 electives, many opted to go to the "bigger topic" sessions like "Domestic/Foster Care", "International Adoption", "Financing an Adoption"(which I heard there was standing room only in those electives) for their 1st elective and then for their second elective they opted for a more specialized class on adoption like "Post Adoption Issues", "Adopting an Older Child", "Preparing your Family" and so forth. We felt they were all important classes and are confident that even the less attended specialized classes fulfilled their purpose!
I also felt the networking that went on at the conference was great too! I was so encouraged to see so many connecting heart to heart over a subject so dear to our Father! Oh how I pray that God will continue to work in the hearts of those that attended and He would show Himself powerful by setting multitudes of orphans in families!!
On a side note, kind of, God blessed me and opened my eyes at the conference in the session David and I taught. Which, we ALMOST said no to teaching : ) I just thought I would be too crazy the day of the conference to handle teaching an elective as well.
Anyway, we taught on emotional and spiritual readiness in the adoption process. Spouse reluctance and infertility/loss were among the topics. The Lord brought some very hurting and grieving people into our classes. In fact, the emotion was so raw in the room at times, I felt myself getting choked up often just seeing their pain.

In the end, God showed me what a ministry there is for these couples who have endured so much silent agony and felt so alone as those around them are blessed child after child. It affirmed my conviction that these precious couples have so much in common with the orphan and that God will use their trials to create beautiful stories!

I came away from the conference touched by the plight of the orphan and sobered by the pain of being childless but ABSOLUTELY filled with the HOPE that is in Christ ALONE!!!

Please keep praying for God's work to continue in the hearts of many!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sarah's a TV star!!

Sarah and I were interviewed "live" last night at a local news station for the Connecting Hearts Through Adoption Conference. We had so much fun but boy, am I glad I don't have to do that again!! I was terribly nervous! Sarah seemed to "blossom" in the environment of being center of attention.... I'm pretty sure she had most hearts captured in the news room! She was really being funny and of course, cute to boot!

She was posing so well in front of the NBC front desk, I could almost hear her thinking, "Yep, I know I'm famous : )"

For all her personality display prior to the interview, she wanted NOTHING to do with sitting still on my lap once we were on the set!

... here's a pic of her obvious desire to GET DOWN!

She did make it back on the set for the last couple minutes of the interview and even had a hug and kiss for Mike Dimmick.... (they kind of bonded before we went on). Overall, a great night with some very fun memories!
Please remember the conference tomorrow in prayer! Our hearts' cry is that the Father would hear the cry of the fatherless and set them in families coming tomorrow!! He is "their Redeemer" and He is strong!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We love Spaghetti!!

It's one of my favorite meals because it's quick and easy but also because I never get complaints from the kids : ) Had to get a shot of these two smothered in it from head to toe!

See how Sarah's tray has the spaghetti in one spot .....

.... verses her sister's tray which is completely smeared in spaghetti sauce!!
I can't help wondering if this will translate into how they keep their rooms someday : )

And just for fun.... Here's a pic from Dave's alum basketball game at LCC on Saturday! That's my man making the lay-up! It was fun day to catch up with some of his old teammates!