Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remembering 2009


Reflections from 2009:
  • We started the year off by celebrating with family and friends.
  • S. turned one!
  • I fasted from the internet for a week.
  • I was hospitalized with pancreatitis and gallbladder problems, while my husband was out of town. Thankfully surgery fixed a lot of my problems and I healed quickly.
  • K. turned 6 in February.
  • We brought home our son E. from Haiti in March.
  • L. turned 12.
  • We traveled to visit family for Easter.
  • We experienced many firsts with E. and navigated out way though parenting an adopted toddler. Potty training, fungus, therapy, medical appointments, behavior issues, stress and fear, language barrier.
  • E. turned 3 in April.
  • We had family visit and went to stay with my sister.
  • We had fun at the zoo, the wildlife refuge, the pioneer farm, the beach, and many other places.
  • I began my weight loss journey.
  • Clepson came to stay with us for a while. He came here from Haiti to have surgery.
  • We went camping in Oregon with friends this summer.
  • Helped our church start an orphan/adoption ministry. It's still in the beginning phases!
  • J. and I got to spend time together without the kids for our anniversary. The kids all stayed with Grandma and Grandpa's house across the state.
  • The big kids went to public school after being home schooled for years.
  • E. had his adoption completely finalized on 9/9/09
  • C. turned 11 in September.
  • L. played soccer.
  • Went to a pro baseball game with the kids.
  • We went to a David Crowder Concert, tickets were a birthday gift to J.
  • My sister got married in November. There were many fun events leading up to the big day.
  • We decided to adopt another child with special needs.
  • My mom was diagnosed with cancer.
  • We had our home study updated.
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with friends.
  • My mom had surgery and is doing well. Thank you Lord!
  • We had a wonderful Christmas with five children!
Wow, that was fun! We have done a lot this year. I am looking forward to the coming decade.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Waiting

It seems that hearing from our lawyer is hit or miss. He is very busy and I have heard is not taking any new families for the coming year. We are very fortunate for God's timing because the other lawyers are much more expensive. I have not heard from ours about if he was able to meet Mercy at her home or about our affidavit. Praying we hear from him soon, that we will receive our fingerprinting appointment soon, and that Mercy's home will get their gov. approval quickly. Praise God that she is doing great on the medication and the seizures are almost gone!

I had another dream about her. She did not speak any English at all and was very scared. I felt so badly for her. I am so thankful that she does speak English and we will be able to communicate a little. It was so difficult when we brought Elijah home to have that language barrier.

Pioneer wrap up!


Napping. yes, K. still sucks her thumb. We are working on that.

Making fire starters. I was in charge of the melted wax.

Pioneer day was fun. We had the fire going and all stayed warm. We cooked scrambled eggs on top of the wood stove. We taped the light switches so the little kids wouldn't turn them on out of habit. We played with play dough, made some more home made fire starters, colored, played outside a bit, read and napped. We made Navajo Fry Bread. It was great covered in cinnamon sugar!

At 4:30 we wrapped up the day. It was dark, getting chilly and I needed to cook dinner. It would have taken a long time on the wood stove, and I wondered about the safety of that with the little boys. I had many visions in my head of burned children in Haiti. Lights came on, Little House on the Prairie episodes were watched, and dinner was served in the light!

J. was not impressed that we didn't last the entire day. He laughed at us when I told him about the day. He was not here to experience it, and didn't come home from work until after 9 pm. In my opinion, he has no room to comment! It was about the experience, togetherness, and a little education too! We did leave the computer and video games off the whole day (except for a quick email check on adoption updates).

Some thoughts on pioneer living:
  • It would be a lot easier if we all didn't know what we were missing. I'm sure the pioneer children were not constantly asking about playing their new video games all day.
  • We are all too attached to our electronics.
  • A lot can be done without being sidetracked with phone calls, email, Blogger, and Facebook.
  • Pioneer women were not anxiously awaiting email messages from their adoption lawyer.
  • I am so thankful for our modern technology. Lights, forced air heat, tv, computer, cars, etc.
  • Cooking is very difficult without temperature control.
  • We are fair weather pioneers! Doing this in the summer months would have been much easier.
Navajo Fry Bread
4 cups flour
1 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 T plus one pinch baking powder
1 1/2 cup warm water

Mix indredients and let sit for 30 minutes. Shape or roll dough into round tortilla shapes. Fry in a pan with shortening until brown on both sides.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pioneer Day



Tomorrow, we are forgoing all electricity (besides our well pump, and refrigerator) and will celebrate our first annual Pioneer Day. We will heat our home and cook solely with our wood stove, cuddle up with sweaters and blankets, use candles when it gets dark, enjoy some fun crafts and cook some different foods. For entertainment we will read together, play outside if the weather allows, and play indoors the old fashioned way. Spending some time away from video games, tv, and internet will do us all some good..

Frugal fire starters

I saw the instructions on here and decided to give it a try today. We were out of our regular fire starters. What a great idea, and they really work better than the store bought ones we've tried.
  1. Recycle a cardboard egg carton.
  2. Fill each compartment with dryer lint.
  3. Pour melted candle wax over the top of the lint.
  4. Cut apart.
  5. Light the edges when starting a fire.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas morning

C. was tired, but S. was very happy about Christmas morning!

A new game...

K. was VERY excited about a Taylor Swift CD.

E. got a dinosaur that growls, chomps and walks! He sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus all day.

Merry Christmas from Mercy


A message from USCIS,
Your I-600A application was accepted by the Lockbox on December 9, 2009. The Field Office received the file on December 18th. You will be notified within the next 10 days of your fingerprint appointment schedule.
Please feel free to contact us at any time with your questions or concerns.
Sincerely
* Adoptions


I am glad to know things are in the right location. I emailed USCIS the other day hoping for some answers. We received a receipt and a receipt number, but I was not able to verify where our file was. The receipt number was not a valid number to use on the website. It was nice to get this response from them. I really am getting anxious about the process. It took about two months for us to get our i600a approval for Elijah. I was told I could submit doctor's letters for Mercy to try to expedite things, but I am not really sure it will help. All I can do is wait and pray. And as I wait I am going to be challenging myself to a month of spending less...I budgeted $100 a week to buy food/groceries for our family for the month. I welcome tips or hints. The remaining money we typically spend will go into our savings for Mercy.

gifts

And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
We received a donation today in the mail. A friend of Jeremiah's cousin requested for her Christmas gift to be a donation made in her name. So, our Aunt K. sent us a check for Mercy from A. What a nice gift. We've also gotten generous donations from other family members in the a last few months. What a blessing!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A rush of emotion

We've had a great day today. We celebrated Elijah's first Christmas being home with our family. It was great. Samuel is nearly two so he is at a fun age too! I have been meaning to try to call Mercy this week, but the timing just isn't working out. There is a ten hour time difference. So, we just settled with sending her an email message and keeping her in our thoughts and prayers today. While I was preparing dinner I heard a song that's been on our playlist:

by Third Day. It is about an adoptive family who adopted a baby from China…

….But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire,
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine.

It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home,
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone,
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms,
And I’ll tell you from my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas.

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights,
I’m warmed by the fire’s glow,
And outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
And make angels in the snow.
But half a world away you try the best to fight your tears,
And hope that heaven’s angels come to carry you here.

Christmas is a time we celebrate the Holy Child,
And we celebrate his perfect gift of Love,
He came to us to give His life and prepare a place for us,
So we could have a home with Him.

It’s Christmas time again but now you’re home,
Your family is here and now you’ll never be alone,
So tonight before you go to sleep I’ll hold you in my arms,
And I’ll tell you from my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas.

It brought a flood of emotions and memories of waiting for two years for Elijah. December 2007 is the first time I heard this song. I played it and would cry and cry. I shed some tears today while thinking about Mercy. Our family does not feel complete, not until Mercy is home with us.

I also got a message from one of Mercy's caregivers. She said Mercy is talking about going to America all the time and is very excited. She also said that it may take a while to get Ministry of Gender approval. It was not clear if it was a month or more. Please pray they can get approval soon. I have a feeling it will work out perfectly with us getting our i600a approval as well. Lord willing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

more frugality...

My friend Sarah (pray for her please) is now a Mega Family Blogger. I clicked on her badge and instantly was linked to larger (mega) families who blog. People with 7 to 37 children. Yes, 37!

I don't fit. I only have 5, almost 6 kids. I am in between. Not quite a mega family, but are we considered large? I think so. Anyway, there are some great hints on money saving on the listed sites, especially on this site, a family with 37 kids.
Here's another site that's worth checking out:

and this one's great too!

not much

Christmas is two days away... we've been busy with J. on his days off. We've run errands, went to the movies, shopped for last minute gifts, C. and E. spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and J. baked cookies last night! Oh, and I can't forget that we got our septic tank pumped! Today we will make a grocery store trip and finish the final touches on things before the big Christmas eve celebration at my parent's house. Christmas day we are going to be having a blessed time together and eat a big turkey dinner. We will of course have our traditional birthday celebration for Jesus.

Have a very wonderful Christmas and remember the true meaning of the season!
Much love from us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Progress

An update from our lawyer!
Also i spoke with S. today and i will pass by the oprhanage on 24th
or 27th Dec 2009.

From what we discussed on phone i can say that am impressed with the
work they have done so far and am sure thaings will run along fairly
fast.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wish list

Love this so much. Need an idea for a friend with special needs kids or a mother of a large family? Here are some great ideas. Many of them are meant for humor, but I would graciously accept any of these gifts!!! This list is from this site.

So you'd like to give me a gift this holiday season? That's nice. I appreciate that so much that I'm going to save you some shopping time. Put the wrapping paper away, forget about the bows and gift tags, and just give me one of these. All I want for Christmas is:
  • Babysitting: A few nights out this year will do me a lot more good than another sweater or DVD.
  • House Cleaning: Oh, yeah. Come clean my house. Anytime. Do you do windows?
  • Homework Help: Teach my kid math; help her write a paper; drill him with flashcards; give me a break.
  • Sounding Board: Therapy? Expensive. Someone like you, who I can call and gripe to for hours. Priceless.
  • Faster Internet Service: Dial-up is making me old before my time. Take up a collection to buy me a faster connection.
  • Back-Up: Come to appointments or school meetings with me. Bring tissues. And maybe a baseball bat.
  • Child's Play: My child wants to play with me, all the darn time. You take a few shifts, okay?
  • Sleep: Offer to take my kids to school one morning. Also wake them up, and get them dressed and fed. I'm sleeping in.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love Eggnog?


I got this recipe from my cousin. Haven't tried it yet but I hear they are best warm out of the oven. Yum.

Budget Tips

From Facebook Friends:

Our tree


In all it's glory. Including child friendly ornaments, LED lights, and a childproof fence to finish it off!

what happens when...





my girls are supposed to be doing their homework but they sneak my camera instead. They gave each other makeovers too, with their lipgloss/makeup.

A new challenge

I am going to be challenging myself next month by playing a little game. Because of our upcoming adoption expenses, and the fact that we really could stand to cut our food budget (or even have a budget!) I decided for the month of January I will see if we can feed our family of 7 for less than $100 a week. I will keep track of our grocery spending and post an update occasionally. If you have any good tips, links, or recipes to help in this endeavor I would really appreciate it. Let me know if it's ok to post it on here to share with everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

the only Creole he knows...

Our family at the boys' dedication at church

and the most important word, in my opinion. priye (pray)
I think it is a bit sad that he does not know his native language anymore.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get as adopted parents...
"Do they remember any Creole?"
No, not really.
E. is learning English quickly.
Today we had a great little 3 year old to mama conversation about Christmas
and Jesus.
And how he was born on Christmas Day,
in a manger.
E. had no idea what I was talking about for most of the conversation.
But after I was done with my short explanation about Jesus' birthday,
E. said the sweetest thing a mama could hear.
Mama, can we priye?

Oh be still my heart.
We prayed
and hugged
and snuggled.
God has awesome things planned for this boy, I just know it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Test Results...



I got a phone call from E.'s doctor's office today. The blood work is in. My heart skipped a beat, wondering what that could mean. The nurse decided to go through each individual test. HIV. negative. Hep B. negative. Hep A. negative. Everything is fine. BIG surprise... just kidding. We are very thankful that E. is healthy. This was E.'s fourth blood workup. The poor little guy. I hope it will be the last for a while and that it will appease the doctors.

5 am

S. woke up and walked into my room. It was probably more around 4 am. This sort of thing does not happen often. He was wide awake. J. snuggled him, gave him warm milk and put him back to bed. BUT all the activity woke up E. At 5 am I heard two boys. laughing. talking. carrying on like it was play time. Oh NO!

E. has a very loud laugh (or scream or cry) that can wake every member of the house. I went in to their room (where the door was shut and we could still hear them) and very sternly told them that Mama is sleeping they need to sleep too. NO MORE TALKING OR LAUGHING. It is time to sleep. And guess what? It worked!!!!! They listened to me. I must have sounded VERY ANGRY.

Christmas Letter

Edited for privacy...

Greetings to you this Christmas season. I apologize for the emailed Christmas letter, but it was the only way I could get our note out to all of you before the end of the year. I hope you will understand.

We have had an extremely busy year. We are thankful for all we have and the health and happiness of everyone in our home. We’ve had a lot of great changes, and would love to share with you what has been happening in our lives.

J. is still employed and just celebrated his 10th anniversary at his work. (edited info)

K. is still a stay at home mom and is no longer home schooling the kids. We decided to enroll them in the local public schools and now we have more time with E. and S. at home. She volunteers for an organization for the Medical Advocacy Team. www.medicaladvocacyteam.blogspot.com Her role is to find host families for international children who are ill and need to come to the U.S for surgery. It is a rewarding job to help children in this way. She enjoys journaling, gardening, reading, playing with the kids and going on fun day trips with the family.

L. will be 13 years old in March and is becoming a young man! He is in 7th grade and attends H. Middle School. He enjoyed playing soccer again this fall. He loves to read, build things, play outside, and is very helpful with the little boys. He is getting excellent grades in school. He’s a very smart guy.

C. is 11. She is in 5th grade at C. Elementary. She loves art, animals, making people laugh, singing and helping in the kitchen. She’s compassionate and caring. She likes to play outside, and cuddle on the couch watching movies. She’s doing really well in school and is making a lot of good friends.

K. is 6. She’s in 1st grade at C. She is a funny, sweet little girl. She loves to cuddle and loves her daddy. She loves singing, dancing, coloring, dressing up, pretending and everything most six-year-old girls like.

E. is our little 3 1/2 year old boy from Haiti. He came home to us in March of 2009. He is a happy, cuddly, sweet boy. The adjustment has been going well and he is such a blessing to our family. His adoption was complete and final on 9/9/09! He is funny and loves to laugh. He had his first experience with snow today and had a great time playing in it with his sisters.

S. will be two soon. He is the sweetest, happiest toddler. He charms everyone he meets! He loves to be active, is running everywhere and gets into everything! He is trying out words daily. He loves his brothers and sisters and they are very helpful caring for him.

Recently we decided to adopt again. (If you would like to hear more about this journey you will have to read my private blog. See the side bar to find out how and let me know who you are!)

We still live in the country, on our 5 acres. We have been working hard around the place and have been remodeling our studio. We have also been busy ripping up our rotting back deck with plans to replace it soon. There are many projects we hope to finish soon! We are hoping to get a few small farm animals in the future. Chickens would be fun…

We hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. May God bless you!


To homeschool or not?

We sent our kids to school this year. A very tough decision but so far a good one. They are all enjoying school and I enjoy the extra time to be with the little boys.

I am wondering what I should do once Mercy is home. She will most likely need some therapy and extra attention or special services. Mercy won't be 5 until March so she could go to Kindergarten in the fall, or we could hold her back a year or we could teach her at home. I guess we will have to wait and see what her needs are and what she would enjoy. I really feel this sense of protecting her, so my heart is leaning towards homeschooling for at least the first few years.

Mercy story

Mercy is always playing somewhere. She can keep herself busy very well. So mostly she is playing somewhere on the compound. She can not really concentrate, so she is just doing her own thing when we do more difficult games with the other kids. So when we go eating I always need to call her very loud so she will hear that we are going to eat. I'm so used that she is not around that I called her very loud yesterday. But she was just very quite at the table and said very cute: Wangi mama? That means: What mama? And she was looking with her cute brown eyes to me. too cute!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Prayers


Please pray for E.'s buddy in Haiti. Isaac is sooo close to coming home to his forever family. We are getting so excited. I asked E. the other day if he remembered Isaac. He had a HUGE smile come over his face and said "yesss." (he says yes like Pedro Sanchez on Napoleon Dynamite)
We can't wait for Isaac to come home and have play dates with E. and S. E. loves to play with Angelina too. I tried to explain that Isaac will be Angelina's brother. He looked confused.

E. had a great time in the snow the other day. He knew exactly what to do with it...throw it at his sister! The girls gave some fun sled rides and they all made snow angels.

It is raining and our snow has melted. I asked E. where it went. He said, "snow went bye bye." I said, "but where?" He said, "I ate it all!" That boy, he melts my heart, just like the snow.

My lawyer and Mercy's caregiver are having a hard time getting in touch with one another. I am hoping that they can soon, so things can get moving! Please pray.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Letter

Greetings to you this Christmas season. I apologize for the emailed Christmas letter, but it was the only way I could get our note out to all of you before the end of the year. I hope you will understand. I may not have everyone’s email address, so please feel free to pass this along to family or friends who would enjoy reading this!

We have had an extremely busy year. We are thankful for all we have and the health and happiness of everyone in the Smith home. We’ve had a lot of great changes, and would love to share with you what has been happening in our lives.

Jeremiah is still employed at the B. Police Department; he just celebrated his 10th anniversary. He is on his 4rd year as a bicycle patrol officer. He is also busy with the SWAT team and the honor guard. He was able to travel to several parts of the country for training and is now a certified instructor for police biking. Unfortunately he attended a few very moving memorial services for fallen law enforcement officers in our area.

Kimberly is still a stay at home mom and is no longer home schooling the kids. We decided to enroll them in the local public schools and now we have more time with Elijah and Samuel at home. She volunteers for an organization for the Medical Advocacy Team. www.medicaladvocacyteam.blogspot.com Her role is to find host families for international children who are ill and need to come to the U.S for surgery. It is a rewarding job to help children in this way. She enjoys journaling, gardening, reading, playing with the kids and going on fun day trips with the family.

Loren will be 13 years old in March and is becoming a young man! He is in 7th grade and attends H. Middle School. He enjoyed playing soccer again this fall. He loves to read, build things, play outside, and is very helpful with the little boys. He is getting excellent grades in school. He’s a very smart guy.

Corinn is 11. She is in 5th grade at C. Elementary. She loves art, animals, making people laugh, singing and helping in the kitchen. She’s compassionate and caring. She likes to play outside, and cuddle on the couch watching movies. She’s doing really well in school and is making a lot of good friends.

Kylie is 6. She’s in 1st grade at C. She is a funny, sweet little girl. She loves to cuddle and loves her daddy. She loves singing, dancing, coloring, dressing up, pretending and everything most six-year-old girls like.

Elijah is our little 3 1/2 year old boy from Haiti. He came home to us in March of 2009. He is a happy, cuddly, sweet boy. The adjustment has been going well and he is such a blessing to our family. His adoption was complete and final on 9/9/09! He is funny and loves to laugh. He had his first experience with snow today and had a great time playing in it with his sisters.

Samuel will be two on Jan. 4th. He is the sweetest, happiest toddler. He charms everyone he meets! He loves to be active, is running everywhere and gets into everything! He is trying out words daily. He loves his brothers and sisters and they are very helpful caring for him.

Recently we decided to adopt again. We heard about Mercy, a little girl in Uganda in October. Kim has been helping trying to find medical care for her through MAT. Mercy has a form of epilepsy. She is also and orphan and it was discovered that processing an adoption would be more beneficial and quicker than getting her temporary medical care. Her story pulled at our hearts so we decided to add her to our family! We are hoping to travel to Uganda in February 2010 to bring her home. We have been busy with paperwork, fundraising and getting our family ready for another child. Mercy is four years old and will be sharing a room with Kylie. We were able to speak to her on the phone yesterday morning. Her laugh is so contagious!

We still live in the country, on our 5 acres. We have been working hard around the place and have been remodeling our studio (a 600 sq ft building used as a recording studio by previous owners). Loren decided he wanted to move his bedroom out there so now he is living in that building, about 20 feet from our back door. This fall, Corinn moved out there in her own room. They love their bit of freedom. We have also been busy ripping up our rotting back deck with plans to replace it soon. There are many projects we hope to finish! We would love to get a few small farm animals in the future. Chickens would be fun…

We hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. May God bless you!

Jeremiah, Kimberly, Loren, Corinn, Kylie, Elijah and Samuel


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Terrible Twos


S. will be two very soon. Here is a little write up I recently sent my yahoo group for children/adults with his specific medical condition. I have some concerns and many questions about his behavior. But my answers may never come until he ages. Please don't misunderstand my words, S. is pure joy. He's so loveable and happy. Sometimes, now that he's nearly two, he's happy IF he gets his way.

My son S is almost 2 years old. He was born with a frontal encephalocele. He was the sweetest, easy going baby. Now
he either going through some horrible terrible twos or something else is going on. Developmentally he is doing well. He was a bit delayed in speech/communication and cognitive skills. Now he is nearly caught up with his peers.

He is VERY VERY busy, into EVERYTHING and climbs into and out of any situation. He can actually pull himself up just with his arms onto the kitchen counter! He can unbuckle his high chair buckle and climb out. He puts everything in his mouth, and I am getting very concerned about his safety. Certain words (no! stop!) don't even slow him down.

Most of the time pain doesn't deter him. He will fall and not even cry. He has very high muscle tone and often will run or walk on his toes. Our pediatrician isn't too concerned about this.

I am wondering if his behavior is just because of his age, or because he had damage to his frontal lobe. Most of the specialists S. has seen don't really want to say, maybe there is no real way of knowing? I know that in the last few months he's gotten more moody, stubborn and doesn't react to cause/effect. He just does what he wants without slowing down. Our OT is pretty sure he has some sensory processing issues.

Thoughts?
Thanks!

Yesterday my friend so graciously snapped this picture of S. in all his glory. She is great with the action shots. (hope you don't mind that I used your photo Sarah!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Conversation

We called Mercy this morning. We had a really hard time connecting with our phone card, but after some assistance from the operator and a few more times dialing we finally got through. The connection was not the best, there was a bit of a delay and there was some breaking up. But we got to talk with Mercy. She spoke to J./Daddy first, then me, then Kylie. Loren spoke to her for a minute too. We didn't understand all of what she said, but she sounded so sweet. She told us she wanted to go to America. She wants to go on the airplane (enter airplane noises here), she likes dogs and cats, she said she wanted to talk to sister. She told me her toy is broken. She is excited for Christmas. The cutest thing she said was "hello America!" She also kept asking about tomorrow. I think. I hope she is not disappointed she will have to wait a few more months...

I am longing for her to be here now more than ever! Her laugh is incredible.

Christmas Party

group photo with Father Frost and Snow Maiden

The kids enjoy their gifts!

Dance Machine! Who knew you could boogie to "Good King Wenceslas"?

C. and E. sing Christmas carols

S. gives his buddy a big hug.

Friday, December 11, 2009

wonderful dream


I had a dream early this morning about Mercy. I was spending time with her, fixing her hair. She currently does not have much because the doctors at the hospital recently shaved it for an EEG. But one day she will. And I will be able to care for it! And love on her.

When I am awake I fear how she will react to me. In all our contact with her caregiver (Mercy's current "Mom") she has talked about how excited she is to have a daddy. Right now she has a "mommy", and I don't think she is too excited about leaving her. What if she doesn't like me, attach to me, or want me around?

I have many fears about Mercy. Adopting an older child with little known background. A child with some complicated unknown medical problems. A child who will most likely have some attachment issues. We have little money set aside to adopt again (besides what we were blessed with recently). We are still adjusting to Elijah being home. We have a child with special needs already.

When we were praying about this decision, I tearfully asked God if He was really sure this is what we were supposed to do? I'm scared. But he reassured me that we are to go. We had to step out in faith. I am going to be spending a lot of extra time in His word these next few months. Seeking comfort and encouragement. I may be reading some good adoption books too. Any suggestions?

Someday soon my dream will become reality, but it may not all be rainbows and butterflies. There will for sure be some challenges. In my dream Mercy and I were mother and daughter. laughing. loving. smiling. Please Lord, let that dream come true.

pray today

It's our special day, please take a minute to pray for us!

remember to pray

http://ourhaitianadoption.blogspot.com/2009/12/week-five.html

Hurray!



We get to talk to Mercy on the phone on Saturday!!!

We are waiting to hear from our lawyer about what needs to be done next. Please pray we will hear from him soon. Word is he is very busy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

mail

We just got a check in the mail from OATH ministries for Mercy! $300. What a blessing. What was more touching was the note hand written by Cindy, who has adopted from Haiti like us.
Here's what she wrote:

We shared Mercy's picture at our OATH event. Although funds were low this time, some families made decisions to adopt and others to sponsor children. We trust that this small amount is encouraging to you. We'd love to do more. May you bring Mercy home soon. We're thankful for your hearts.



Pray for us on Friday the 11th (or any day is great!!)

Please join in prayer for our adoption...
good friends have created an adoption prayer chain to pray to families in the adoption process. Our day is December 11th. Samuel's file is still in Haiti although his adoption is final. We are waiting to exit MOI.

Please especially pray for Mercy, for paperwork to come together, for no hangups and for things to process quickly. For her health and seizure condition, and for her heart to be prepared. Also pray that God will provide the remaining finances for travel and other fees. So far He has been faithful!!

Since we have asked for prayer for Mercy her seizures have been a lot less and she is doing so much better. The doctor in the US was able to suggest a medication for her that was able to be located in Uganda. Praise God!

Sizes

Shoe size is 30 (12)
she is 113 cm long (44.48 inches)
she is 18 kg (39.68 lbs.)

She is wearing size 110 now but might be a size bigger to. (5)


Mercy is talking on a fake phone with daddy all day now.
Maybe you can call once?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

from a visitor


It’s so good to hear from you. It was such a pleasure to meet Mercy, she is a very sweet girl and I can only imagine the joy she will bring to your life. In response to your questions about Mercy, I can only give you some limited insight since I spent a total of twenty minutes or so with Mercy. I actually came to know Mercy because her case was mentioned to me because my mentor at Yale is a world-renowned epilepsy surgeon and there was some suggestion that she might need a good epilepsy surgeon. I spoke with - who mentioned that Mercy was having seizures often, but that since changing her medication regimen she had been seizure free for several weeks and was doing well. She had seen a neurosurgeon in Kampala, but it was not at all clear what his diagnosis was. Throughout my brief time with her Mercy was extremely warm and open, in fact she jumped into my arms when I said hi to her. She was very energetic and was running around the entire time I was with her. Mercy just seems so loving and open.

I’m sorry that I can’t give you any medical information of real value, but it was difficult to get make any sort of meaningful assessment given the limited time and resources. I am hoping that Mercy’s condition remains stable and that she will get first rate care once she is here in the US. I am glad to hear that you have a neurosurgeon close by that you have a good relationship with who can take care of Mercy. I have attached the several pictures I took of her, I hope you enjoy them. Please keep in touch and let me know how Mercy is doing, and do not hesitate to e-mail me with questions anytime.

All the best,
E.

encouragement

Some encouraging words from friends:
The Lord has prepared you for such a time as this and equipped you to care for His precious creation, and you are an encouragment to us. In a time where children seem so disposable at every age (I see this when I am subbing, esp. in middle and high school grades) it's so wonderful to see you guys "step up" and "step out" in faith. The Lord knows He can entrust this little one to you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh Christmas tree...

Did you see the t-shirt J. is wearing?


Christmas festivities are in full force here, and it's beginning to feel a lot like it! Things started off with a bang with gift shopping after Thanksgiving. Now we are experiencing VERY cold weather, which the news calls "Arctic Freeze". We are not used to this. We got our tree on Friday night at a nearby tree farm. It ended with cold, hungry and upset kiddos. The older two argued over who got to cut down the tree. Thankfully we live about 5 minutes away and we got home quickly. We ate and decorated. I left off many of my fragile ornaments this year and we have a baby gate wrapped around the finished project!

C. and K. got to stay after school today to make handmade ornaments and decorate the school's tree. They had a great time. C.'s music class will be performing in a few days.

On Saturday we will be going to a holiday party hosted by the local Spina Bifida Association. While we don't have a child with SB, there is not a support group nearby for children born with encephaloceles. Thankfully the SBA was gracious enough to let us join their group since S. does have a neuro-tube defect and hydrocephalus. I hear the holiday parties are wonderful and I am looking forward to it!
L. ready to cut down the perfect tree.


K. helped pick out the tree and keep an eye on the boys.

E. was cold but always has a smile for the camera!

S. liked to point at the trees and say "tee!"

Sorry, no pictures of the decorated tree yet, my camera's battery died.

A letter from the Epilepsy Foundation

I felt this was interesting and worth sharing...about the possible struggles we may deal with when Mercy comes home:


We’re ending 2009 with a bang thanks to more than 1,000 epilepsy advocates. In the last three weeks, advocates have sent 3,693 email messages to President Obama and members of Congress about the need to find a cure, protect access to care and end discrimination.


That’s a great start, but we can (and must) do better! First, we have to increase the volume of communications we generate about epilepsy. Each Representative in Congress receives approximately 10,000 email messages a week. To get noticed, we need to generate a lot more than 3,693 messages over a three-week period.


Second, we need to personally connect with Representative in Congress. That means sharing your personal story about living with epilepsy. Emails are easy to send, but easy to ignore. A handwritten letter or face-to-face meeting is hard to forget. The more personal your make your communication, the more effective you will be as an advocate.


How can you get more engaged? In 2010, the Epilepsy Foundation is planning two advocacy initiatives in which you can play an important role. Below is a brief description:

(1) Letter for a Cure – In early 2010, the Foundation will ask all Representatives in Congress to sign a letter. The letter will ask for a significant increase in funding for epilepsy research at the National Institutes of Health. Each year NIH spends $30 billion of medical research, but just ½ of 1% is spent on epilepsy. By signing this letter, your Representative can show his/her support for a cure and better treatments for epilepsy. You can convince him/her to sign it.

(2) Year of Service – The Foundation is also planning a series of activities you can take to raise awareness and support for epilepsy in your community. The Year of Service will be launched at our Kids Speak Up! event in April, but anyone can participate. It will involve speaking with others in your community about epilepsy, meeting with elected officials and candidates, and rallying public support for our cause.


We will be in touch with more details about each of these activities. In the meantime, it’s not too late to add your voice to the debate. Please take a moment and email your Congressman, Senators and President Obama about epilepsy. It makes a difference and takes just a moment of your time. You can take action by visiting our online action center at http://capwiz.com/efa/issues/.


Of course, please contact me if I can be of any assistance to you. While I receive hundreds of responses to every message I send, I do my best to personally reply to every one of them. Many thanks for your ongoing support of the Foundation.


Joe

Joseph LaMountain

Director of Grassroots Advocacy

Epilepsy Foundation

Landover, MD

jlamountain@efa.org

sadness...

The last few months I have witnessed many amazing miracles in our lives and lives of friends and family. I have also unfortunately witnessed a lot of horrible attacks on some people I like to keep up with. Some of them have been spiritual attacks, some verbal, some written, and some physical.

Please pray for the families of the four fallen police officers that were shot to death while having a meeting at a restaurant. This sort of thing is just unimaginable. J. is going to be attending the memorial tomorrow. I will be watching it on television.

Pray for several different friends struggling more than you'd ever know with some very difficult things.

Revelation 6:3-4 (New International Version)
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

new pictures




Sinterklaas came to the children's home!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today I got home from a lovely little getaway with two good friends. It was a very nice time and I am so glad I got a short break from the kids.

We mailed in our i600a paperwork, with hopes they may expedite the approval.

Tomorrow we are making a payment to retain our lawyer.

Then there will be more waiting.... and praying!

Mercy is on summer break from school for 2 months. I was told that she is doing well, and is very funny. I think she will fit into our family perfectly!

Here is a cute story about Mercy:
On Saturday I went with her to the market and all the children where teasing her about her helmet. Mercy answered that she was going to be a pilot that's why she is wearing a helmet. It was very cute and all the children stopped teasing her.