Archive for March, 2011
I have been reading Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. Here is a section from the latest chapter I read:
Think of the plight of the orphan somewhere right now out there in the world. It’s not just that she’s lonely. It’s that she has no inheritance, no future. With every passing year, she’s less “cute”, less adoptable. In just a few years, on her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be expelled from the orphanage or from “the system.” What will happen to her then? Maybe she’ll join the military or find some job training. Maybe she’ll stare at a tile on the ceiling above her as her body is violated by a man who’s willing to pay her enough to eat for a day, alone in a back alley or in front of a camera crew of strangers. Maybe she’ll place a revolver in her mouth or tie a rope around her neck, knowing no one will have to deal with her except, once again, the bureaucratic “authorities” who can clean up the mess she leaves behind. Can you feel the force of such desperation? Jesus can. She’s his little sister.
If that isn’t enough to make Christian’s (or really anyone for that matter) stop and consider what they are doing to help the least of these, then I don’t know what is. Unfortunately, this is the reality. This is what is happening in our world everyday. We can choose to ignore it (which is way easier, safer, and cleaner), or we can love like Jesus. The amount of people hurting in the world-the amount of those that are orphans alone-is overwhelming. How can I really make a difference? These tragedies will still take place. What can I really do? One of my favorite quotes is from Helen Keller. “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse the something I can do.” The question shouldn’t be “how can I really make a difference?” It should be, “What CAN I do to make a difference? I have a feeling we can all do A LOT more than we are doing right now.
Today we had our court hearing which made Kai officially our daughter! Now, of course, nothing REALLY changes. She has been our daughter from day one (actually from before we even went to Uganda and met her.) But, it is still a big deal because now we can apply for American citizenship for her and then get her an America passport. It just makes it more, well, official! We are very happy with the attorney we used here in Florida so if anyone needs a recommendation, let me know. It was super easy and we had our hearing over the phone. Pretty awesome, huh? Couldn’t be more thrilled to have this little princess as part of our family…
So, Friday night we got to go see Brandon Heath in concert. We took Jayce because he LOVES singing and Brandon Heath is one of his favorites (along with Toby Mac, Matthew West, Josh Wilson…and the list goes on :)) It was great spending time with just our oldest guy. It is not very often we get to do this. He really had a blast! During one of the slower songs, Jayce was singing really loud and everyone around us was smiling and laughing at him. It was too cute! Thankfully, he seems to have a nice little voice. A few pics of the fun (didnt turn out that great since we couldn’t take pics with a flash during the concert)…
McDonald’s drive through on the way!
Waiting in line to get decent seats…
We got pretty good seats
Jayce took this while we were waiting for it to start.
Jayce with Dave Barnes at intermission (God gave me you for the ups and downs…)
Brandon Heath was awesome! Sounded just like the cd
If you get the chance to go to the Leaving Eden tour, go!!!!!
A lot of laughs + a lot of awesome singing = fun, amazing worship!!!
Since I just posted, I had no intention of posting again tonight. However, I went to another blog I love (No Greater Joy Mom) and felt I had to post this. Please read the most recent post on the blog Our Eyes Opened, and pray, pray, pray! I cannot even imagine how this family feels at this point and am praying that God moves mountains for them!
So, last year we participated in Hunger Week at our church. For one week we are asked to eat rice, beans, and tortillas (what most of the world eats) and skip out on our normal meals. You can do this for all three meals a day, for one meal a day, for seven days, or five days…however you choose to do it. The Sunday following Hunger Week, we have a shorter service and then spend the rest of the time grocery shopping for others as a church. The whole point is to set aside money we would normally spend on food and donate that money to help build a food distribution center in our community and also to help toward the development of a school in Haiti. Also, I think the point is to realize how spoiled we are here in North America and how little most of the world really has. The variety and excess that we have at our disposable is very sad when you consider that children starve to death all over the world every single day. Last year when we did this, I didn’t even make it the five days. I caved in and had to eat something else. I didn’t really take it that seriously last year. But this year, it is very different. Because in December I went to Uganda and I saw what I had not ever seen before. I saw poverty. I saw kids who were severely malnourished. I met Kai. This year I am looking forward to Hunger Week because it helps me remember what I saw in Uganda. It is so easy to come back here and go right back into the comfortable way of living. To go right back into complaining that there is nothing to eat in the house when I have cabinets full of food (yes, it is sad, but I have to admit I did this just this week.) I NEED Hunger Week. I need to be reminded of the poor, broken, and hurting. I need to do more than I am doing. I also am looking forward to sharing with our children this week. I am sure they are going to wonder why we are having rice and beans for dinner every night this week, and I can’t wait to take the time to teach them about loving others, loving the poor, loving like Jesus.
I also am looking forward to April 15th because we are going to hold a cupcake sale at Guardian Angel Preschool. The Cupcake Kids was started so that people like us and our little ones can get involved in making a difference. We will have families make and donate cupcakes and then sell them on April 15th at the preschool to whoever comes (probably a lot of the people that make and donate the cupcakes :)) All of the proceeds go to an amazing organization that is doing wonderful work in Uganda. Check out Sixty Feet to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved. Anyone can have a sale and make a difference. Maybe you could host one too???
So, it has been a busy weekend here. On Saturday, we decided to head to Tampa since two more families were coming home with their precious boys from Uganda. Since it is over an hour away, we decided to do something fun during the day and then go straight to the airport at 6 to welcome them home. Our adventure started off with Beckhem throwing up in the car (no surprise there since this is a regular thing with him…this has been an ongoing issue and we know by now that this does not indicate a stomach virus.) We, or course, had no extra clothes for him and the car seat was ruined (at least for the day.) So, we stopped for lunch and had to put him in a bathing suite and clean up the car seat with a water bottle and in the sink at McDonald’s. Fun times Once we had that under control, we were ready to hit the zoo! We had never been to the Lowry Park Zoo before but have heard how fun it is, and the kids were anxious to see some animals and ride some rides Here are a few pics…
Kai was pretty much terrified on this. I felt so bad
Then we heard that the families missed their last flight and might not get in until ten! We knew there was no way our kids would make it until then. We decided to head to a mall for a little while and get some dinner. Thankfully, though, they got on an earlier flight and we were still in the area. They would now get in at 8:30. We could still get to the airport to welcome them! Praise God!!!!!
So glad that Jenn and Elli were able to come too and bring a sign
Matthew ready to be reunited with mom.
Matt with one of his big sisters.
So glad this little guy has moved on from Ibanda Babies Home and is now home to his family forever!
A group shot (minus Jayson taking the pic) at the airport!!!!
Welcoming these two home means we have welcomed all 7 coming from Ibanda Babies Home. Three more to welcome home soon from Kampala. Can’t wait
Sunday, we had an AMAZING message at church. I really should figure out how to link the message on here, but I am sure if you check out Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church you can listen to the message from there. What a convicting message on caring for the poor and just another reminder of who we really are and just how scandalous it is that God loves US. After church, while the guys headed to the golf course, the ladies (me, my mom, and sister in law) took the kids and headed to a little beach not too far from where we live. It was Kai’s first time, and she LOVED it. She did not mind if the sand or salt water got in her eyes. She had a blast!!!!
She LOVED it! Can’t wait to take her to a nicer, bigger beach with real waves
We had a fun St. Patrick’s Day. I know it is not a big holiday or anything, but since my family is Irish (and not just part or a little bit Irish, but like all of them minus my mom born in Ireland), and I have been to Ireland twice, I still like to celebrate a little (even if it is just with cute shirts for the kids and fun things at preschool.) It was Kai’s first St. Patrick’s Day and she even liked soda bread! (She pretty much likes ALL food, though.)
The best part of the day, however, was not wearing green and thinking the holiday is all about me, since I am Irish afterall BUT it was getting to go to the airport and welcome home another sweet one from Uganda! Remember I mentioned more families traveling and to be praying? Well, the first family made it home last night! It was so great to be at the airport to support and welcome them home. Their little boy, Cameron, is just adorable. I went without my kiddos (since it is an hour and fifteen minutes each way and would be late by the time we got home), but I wish I could have brought Kai. Kai and Cameron were together for a while at the orphanage and also when in the social worker’s care. It will be fun to get them together soon. Once all the kids in our Uganda family are home (ten in all-for now) I am sure we will get together and it will be wonderful to see all the kids together and home in their families. So excited for the other two to get home tomorrow night and then for three more to come home in either April or May. LOVE how God is working and bringing all these sweetie pies from Uganda to Florida
Getting ready with signs and balloons!
So happy for this sweet family!!!!
So fun! Can’t wait to welcome home more!
Continue to pray for this little guy and Mommy and Daddy as they continue to adjust. We are so glad they are home safe and sound and everyone is doing well!
Airport welcomes are SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!
Papa Jay and Mama took us to a Disney Character breakfast for Jayce’s birthday.
Thanks Papa Jay and Mama for a fun birthday Disney breakfast!
It is hard to believe we have had Kai in our arms for over three months now and have been home three months today. It feels like more than three months since we were in Uganda (only 3 mths?!?!?! then why am I dying to go back already?!?!?), and it seems like Kai has always been here too. She really does just fit right into the family, and the boys (and everyone who meets her) just adore her. Her personality has really come out. She is mostly happy and very energetic. She loves to get into everything, crawl everywhere, and is ALMOST walking. She has a loud voice when she wants something and really knows how to show us she is mad when we aren’t exactly doing what she wants (like holding Beckhem instead of her even though she is held most of the time, not letting her get into cleaning supplies or other dangerous items, or not giving her MORE food after she has already eaten a ton.) When she gets mad, she gets mad. Luckily, it is not that often. She is usually very content to play and especially if we are outside she is easily entertained. We are so in love with this princess and are so glad she has been home with us three months now.
Lately, I feel constantly burdened with what God wants us to do next. I cannot get Uganda and the poverty I saw there out of my head. I cannot get the 147 million orphans out of my head. Some people probably think it is because I have an obsessive personality (which is true at times and about certain things, I guess), but I sort of think this is God. I feel like He wants me to do something more, but the frustrating part is I am not sure exactly what. Where is the greatest need? What can I do? Does He want us to go? Does He want us to adopt again…right now? Should I start a non-profit? Should I support and get involved with already existing non profits and organizations? I JUST DON’T KNOW. But I do know that He loves children. “and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever received one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:3-6 And He loves adoption. “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” Ephesians 1:5. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” James 1:27. I can’t help but feel that this passion, or burden (whatever you can call it), is from Him. I am pretty sure it is. And some may think that we have done our part by adopting Kai, but I KNOW we can do more. I KNOW we should do more. But right now that is all I know. So, I am waiting and hoping that the next step becomes clear for us (and I do mean us. I want Jayson to be on board with any and every decision for our family.) I would appreciate prayer and encouragement and even advice. We want to be used by God. We want to be willing to go or do whatever, and we are sure it will involve caring for the orphans. God opened all the doors and made it very clear that He had our daughter for us in Uganda, and I am sure that He will make it clear on what comes next as well, but this in between stage is driving me crazy!