Thankful Thursday: A little girl’s dream come true

I have wanted to take MissE to the American Girl Bistro for some time, but each time I picked a date something came up.

My sister called on Monday to say she was going with her girl and meeting our aunt there, but we already had plans and couldn’t make it.

As it turns out, the weather has been unpleasant here and our plans got cancelled. So, with a few minutes notice I loaded up the kids and took off for the mall.

Even Junior got his own lunch buddy doll, which he thought was really fun.

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The girls had a fun time reading ‘discussion questions’ back and forth.

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Then there was some shopping.

‘”Aunt Margaret, look how pretty this dress is! Isn’t it pretty? Wouldn’t my doll look beautiful in this dress!”

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There were some happy little girls that day.

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Junior was not neglected as the mall also has a Lego store.

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Junior was rewarded for enduring all the pink.

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Thanks to Aunt Margaret for making little girls’ dreams come true! We had a fun time!

 

Thankful Thursday: One Year!

So, yesterday marked one year on the Honduras wait list. I allowed myself a sad day. It’s okay to be sad, people. Now the sad day is over and today I’m listening to praise music and giving thanks for all the ways God has moved in the past 12 months.

We mailed off our dossier in September 2011 and by March 2012 we still had not heard anything. Those were some LONG months. We knew of others having do re-do paperwork and mail in more pictures. I knew at least one of our documents lacked something and I was sure we would need to re-do it. I worried about how long it was taking and was convinced our paperwork had been lost in the shuffle (this did happen to another family!).

On March 13, 2012 I went to bible study and my friends prayed for me. You can read all about it hear. I came home and received an email saying our paperwork was approved (no corrections needed) and we had our first waiting number!

Thank you, God, for allowing our paperwork to be approved as it was and for answering prayer that day! Thank you for using friends to pray for me and encourage me that day and allowing them the joy in celebrating in an immediately answered prayer.

 

In the coming weeks we learned that our program fees were going up by a large amount. We had scrimped to pay for all of our fees to that point and had no idea of how we would pay the remainder, let alone the increase. Over the summer our friends and family came around us in a HUGE way. Garage sale, t-shirt sales, sponsored miles, and a Carnival all helped cover the increased amount and provided the funds we needed to complete this adoption.

Thank you, Jesus, for touching people’s hearts and providing the finances needed to bring this child home! Thank you for the encouragement that came from such sweet and generous souls!

 

It’s hard to explain, but a year ago I felt so alone in this process. It was difficult to talk to people about adoption and how the whole program works. I often felt misunderstood and more or less that people were apathetic in response. Some people, probably not any of you that read this blog :). Through fundraising, God really changed that for me. We had such a great response from family, friends, and even strangers. I felt like people really caught the vision for adoption and could understand our hearts. Through this time our small group was formed and they have been and continue to be an enormous blessing in our lives.

Thank you, Jesus, for providing a community that supports us and loves adoption like you do! Thank you for surrounding us with people that love you. Thank you for the joy it is to walk this life with those individuals!

 

A while ago God really impressed on my heart to pray for other families to answer the call to adopt. Now, I already had experienced the hard work that is adoption and so I prayed earnestly that God would give people a heart for adoption and also a tenacity to fight for children. I started praying for a certain number of families to start the adoption process. God has answered that prayer and some. We keep hearing of friends from all over that have decided to step out in significant faith and pursue adoption or foster care. I see these families as an answer to my prayer.

Thank you, God, for calling others to adopt. Thank you for inspiring hearts to care for orphans. Thank you for providing what each of these families need for this journey and for continuing to care for these children while we all wait.

 

As our wait list number got lower, we started to think more realistically of what it would look like to add a third child to our little home. We prayed that if God would see fit, he would provide a larger home for us. Little did we expect the house God had for us. After an unexpected email from our realtor and a lot of waiting, we moved into a lovely home all ready for more kids!

Thank you, Jesus, for providing for our needs (the money needed to complete the adoption) and our wants (the space needed to add another family member). We ask that our home would be filled with your love and with people to share it with.

 

For some people 12 months feels like an eternity and for others it is just another year that flew by. For us, this past year has been significant. God has used this time to build up our faith, equip us for adoption, show us his provision, and surround us with a community that loves him. I have no idea what the next year holds, but I know God does. Today I am thanking him for that and trusting him for what lies ahead.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

Isaiah 55:8-12

Today I water my prayer plant (it’s still alive and well) and thank God for all he has done and will continue to do! I might even go ahead and do an un-Swedish thing and burst into song and clap my hands.

 

 

PS: Last night we celebrated and remembered this past year at Chuck E Cheeeeeese. What kid wouldn’t want to join our clan?!

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Thankful Thursday: Homestudy Update Complete

Our Homestudy update is complete and officially mailed off to USCIS (to renew our immigration approval). Yay!!

We had our social worker out to our new house in early December. The visit went well (Minus the mention of lice) and we fully expected to have our completed homestudy in hand by February 1st. However, as always happens with adoption paperwork, there were glitches. First, our background checks took much longer than expected to process. Next, our homestudy was mailed to the wrong address. When it finally came I was eager to get it all mailed away, only to realize we could not locate one other document that needed to go along with our renewal application.

What was the one document we couldn’t locate?

Our original homestudy.

Who loses their homestudy!?!

It was embarrassing. We searched the house top to bottom. We looked in every folder,  binder, box, and computer file. Our adoption paperwork is well organized and the one spot where our homestudy should have been was empty, completely empty.

I knew our agency had a copy of it, but I really didn’t want to call and admit that we lost the one document that approves us to adopt in the first place. After a few tears, some prayer, encouragement from friends (and one adoptive mom who said, ‘That’s why you pay the agency’), and a deep breath; I made the call.

Our sweet case worker emailed me the copy while we were on the phone. Easy peasy and done.

So, just days before our immigration approval expires our renewal application is in the mail. Phew!

Thank you, God, for providing each document when and as we needed it and for continuing to remind us that this is all under you control (not ours).

Thankful Thursday: My Valentines

Oops, this is a day late, but yesterday was Valentine’s day and I am ever so thankful for my loves.

I literally thank God everyday for our little family and for the chance to share life with them. I am also incredibly thankful for our extended families that love us and taught us to love God.

MissE says yesterday on the way to school, “Our family loves Jesus. We can love Jesus because he is alive.”

So matter of fact. So true.

Your love is better than life, I will praise you! Psalm 63:3

Junior and I got to crash MissE’s valentine party yesterday. They served yogurt parfaits for the snack instead of the usual sugar cookie piled high with frosting. I love those room moms!

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We took the kids swimming on Wednesday for family fun night. It was a blast and Junior only almost drowned once. That kid has no fear. He went under water and just stood there, not even fighting to get up for air.

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We had heart-shaped pizzas for dinner. MissE asked, “Where are the candles?”

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Thankful Thursday: FOOD

Okay, last week was tea, this week is food, but seriously I am thankful for FOOD.

A couple weeks ago I started doing the 7 Experiment: Staging your own mutiny against excess with some friends. This past week (note week, not month like in the original book) was food week. I ate only seven foods.

1. Chicken 2. Eggs
3. spinach
4. apples
5. avacados
6. whole grain bread
7. TEA :)

Seven foods for a week was really a breeze in that it was easy meal prep, food I liked, and healthy. Plus, I had already cut out coffee the week before. All in all, I felt really good after the week was over. However, the biggest challenge was missing ‘snack’ time and my after-the-kids-are-in-bed treat. Right, doesn’t every mom have that?

I also had to count how many food items we had in the house and discovered a full bag of Lindt truffles. Those are my absolute FAVORITE, so it was torture to have to put them back on the shelf without consuming even just one.

I had to go grocery shopping during the week to feed the kids (they weren’t too keen on a week of spinach). While in the grocery store I was overwhelmed by choices, choices, choices. We just have so many options, even buying whole grain bread, there were multiple shelves to pick from. I was also suddenly aware of my impulse ‘oooh, that looks yummy’ purchases. I said no to those impulses, but realized just how frequently I eat based on that feeling of “I want that food item right now because I suddenly desire it and I can have it”.

So, yes, I am thankful for food.

I am Thankful that I live in a country where food is plentiful.

I am thankful that I have the ability to feed my children Every. Single. Day. (this is a luxury many in the world do not have).

I am not thankful that my children take this for granted and throw away good food (in which I resist temptation to dig it out of the trash, because eating only seven foods has indeed left me a wee bit hungry). But, I am encouraged that we can do better at eating what we have, only buying what we need, and always being generous in sharing with others.

I dare you to eat only seven foods for a week and see what new insights you have.