Friday, February 25, 2011

Wild Olive Giveaway!!

Wild Olive

One of these days I AM going to win one of these give-aways... LOL

This time Wild Olive is giving away FIVE of their new  Transform Your Mind hoodies. They are so Purrrtttyyy. Go and see for yourself, seriously. All you have to do is visit, grab the button that looks like the pic at the top of this post, blog about it, and link up back at Wild Olive. You can also get extra entries for Like-ing them on FB, and following on Twitter. Easy peasy.

Thanks Wild Olive for this chance to win - I really needed something to lift my spirits at the end of this LONG week. Guess, I need to work on Transforming MY mind, huh? :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things I Ponder: Too Many Fights

Last night was Life group with one of my really good friends, Tari (You should check her blog. She has such awesome truths to share). She's been teaching us about Prophetic Worship and it's been really good. The best part for me has been learning that worship is also warfare. That when we are in a place where we just want to cry, scream, or may be experiencing the worst pain of our lives making a conscious choice to worship can help us to come out on the other side of it.

One of the verses last night that we went over was 2 Chronicles 20:17
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”

We talked about how we are also told that God is fighting our battles for us. Something I've heard my whole lfie, but yet is SO hard for met to do! I am a fighter, I'll admit it. If I wasn't Liza probably wouldn't be here right now. I wouldn't be where I am right now. If there is a fight that I need to fight I will stand my ground and fight until there are no weapons left for me to use. 

I really kind of like this about myself, I hope that doesn't sound prideful. But, how does this part of me fit in with the promise of God that He will fight my battles for me? Have I been using up all my energy fighting battles that He wold gladly fight for me? Or have I been doing what I am supposed to do and He is fighting the parts of the battle that maybe I can't see? Questions like this have been rattling around in my head today.

What about when it comes to battles that involve our children? How do we allow God to fight those battles? One of my sons has said some things to someone who used to be a friend of his that were hurtful, not only to this friend but to the friend's Mother, and also to me because I'm his Mom and I hate that he made such a choice. How do I let God fight this battle without shirking my parental duties? What about the battle for my other son and his issues with school and not being able to complete his work. I'm at a loss and want to "give it to God". But, what does that look like? Then there's the battle to get Liza the services we think she needs from the local school system and not what they think they want to give her. What does giving that battle to God look like without just sitting back, praying, and waiting for something to happen?

Right now I just feel like there are too many fights to fight. I think the biggest fight I may be fighting at the moment is giving up the battles. I guess I need to go and play some worship music on my keyboard and sing all my cares away. It worked for Jehoshaphat and his folks. 
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? How do you let go of the fight?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Signing Family

Hmm, I typed that and I realized that some might think what I mean is a family that signs. While we are quickly becoming a family that signs, what I really mean is the actual signing of the word "family". That's what Liza's been doing a lot lately. She learned to sign that word, along with about 50 or so others from the three Signing Time videos that we have. Which she absolutely LOVES!

I can remember one morning, when she'd been home about two weeks, asking her if she was happy to have a family and how she smiled at me so big and then signed "happy". Since then I have caught her a few times just randomly walking through the house signing "family". It's so cute and so sweet and just such a testimony to the fact that EVERYONE wants to be loved! And guess what, they don't care if they have to be taken halfway around the World to be placed into a situation where they will be loved. You will never convince me that orphans are better off in orphanages in their own country so that they can retain their "culture". I assure you, if you go into any orphanage and ask the majority of kids there they will tell you that they want a family - they won't care what the family looks like or where the family comes from, just that the family will love them and be there for them.

So, what am I getting at besides the fact my daughter can sign "family"? This picture below and what hit me today when I looked at it again for one of a hundred times, but this time saw something I'd never noticed before. Do you see it?

Maxim is signing "FAMILY"!! He was telling me the day that I met him that he wants a family. He may not have known that was what he was doing but I know WHO knows every language under the sun and can even speak through a child who has no language!

Today as I watched Liza sign "family" out of the blue once again, I posted about it on Twitter and really didn't think a whole lot about it after that, except to smile every now and then. Then as I was puttering around my kitchen I looked up at Maxim's, Andrey's, and Vanessa's pictures to pray over them and suddenly it hit me what I was seeing. I thought at the time that it looked like he was trying to make a heart with his fingers, but now that I have seen a child who was once an orphan sign "family" I immediately recognized the cry.

I know you can see it too, can't you? Don't you see the pleading in his eyes? Scroll back up and take a look. It's there - that strong longing. The cry of Maxim's heart is to have a family who will love him and give him everything he will need to succeed. It's the cry of my heart as well. "Now that I have seen, I am responsible" (Albertine - Brooke Fraser).

Wow! I have seen and I am responsible. Now, I have helped you to see and you too are responsible. Please share on Facebook, your blogs, twitter, and everywhere else that you can and help me to find Maxim's family. Please don't shrug this off and go on to the next thing. I have held him in my arms and I just cannot let go until he has a family. Please help me and others who love him, like Stephanie, to find Maxim's family.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lost and Found Dreams

Darn, I seem to be really stuck on dreams here lately, huh? I do mean dreams but not the kind of dreams you have while you're sleeping. I mean the dreams of who you wanna be when you grow up.

The kind little girls have that go kinda like this, "I'm gonna go to college and become a teacher! And then I'm gonna get married to a guy who is funny like Daddy but has more hair. And we're gonna have 6 babies and name them Rosie, Molly, JonJon, Peter, Lexie, and Bob." (Not stolen from any actual little girls I've known or been but probably pretty close)

Or that little boys have that go like this, "I'm gonna be a firefighter and Veterinarian! And then an astronaut and a construction worker! And then I'm gonna be a garbage man so I can ride on the back of the garbage truck!" (very possibly a mish-mash of the preschool dreams of two little boys I love who aren't so little anymore - cough Austin/Noah cough )

Today I was reading some messages a couple other adoptive Mamas had shared. One of them was working on genealogy and found that a few generations back she had ancestors that had lived and worked in the town she is adopting her son from. How cool is that?! Then another Mama said she had looked through her middle school yearbook on a whim and found some notes she had written from back then on the region she had just been to and adopted her daughter from. I don't know about you, but that kinda stuff just gets me excited! It's like God holding a megaphone and shouting, "Hey! I knew what I was doing all along! Even when the thought of these children or any children being a part of your lives wasn't on the radar for you. I KNEW!" Isn't He good?

It made me think of when I was a little girl. I loved my baby dolls! Ask my Mama, she'll tell you how much I loved them. I had about a thousand quite a few of them, and it's a good thing I slept on a double-sized pullout sleeper couch cause ALL my babies had to sleep with me. Well, I couldn't leave any of them out! Are you nuts, and hurt their feelings?! No way!

I also used to say for years that I was gonna grow up and be a Mama. I was gonna be a Mama who had LOTS of babies, maybe even a hundred (I seriously told my Grandma and my Mom this, even started making a list of their names once). I can remember once telling my Mom that I was going to have lots of children some biological and some adopted. That we would be such a large family that we would need a newsletter to keep up with each other. I can still remember her smiling at me and saying something like, "You'll change your mind someday." At the time, No - I didn't think anything could change my mind. All I wanted to do was be a Mama to lots of kids, no matter where they might come from.

BUT, uh oh, there's that word. But. Can't ever be good after a story about a little girl's dream, right? Yeah....

Life kinda takes over, doesn't it? You have all these dreams and visions of what you want your life to be like but life is full of so many twists and turns that take us away, a lot of times, from the roads we think we need to be on to make those dreams come true. Until one day we wake up living a total different life than what we thought it would be like at 6 or 9 or 12 or even 15. Which, isn't always a bad thing. In some cases it could be a very similar life to the one imagined, only even better. Or much more than a little girl/boy could've ever dreamed. Or the little girl/boy simply allowed her/his dreams to evolve into something entirely different, but still their own as they grew up. Sometimes, though, the changes that life throws at us can cause our dreams to be completely disrailed and forgotten.

That's what happened to my dreams. Instead of marrying a good guy and beginning to raise a large family, I made some poor choices that led me to an unplanned pregnancy at 19 years old. Having a baby with a guy who I can now say did not deserve me. Once the shock wore off I was happy that I was going to be a Mom, but by this time in my life the dream of many babies from many places was forgotten (by me, but not by God). As the years went on, I found myself at 24 years old a single mom with TWO babies and trying to get back on my feet after finally gathering up the courage to leave that man that never deserved me. At this point in my life, after all I had gone through, I really felt that my two boys were the only children I would ever have and my dream was dead. It was as if that little girl with the dream of mothering many babies from many places had never existed. Isn't that sad?

But GOD! Don't you love how when He enters the picture you know Victory is coming? There is a reason we call Him the Redeemer. Not just because He's redeemed us from death to Life, but because He can take what we've broken or lost, or what's been stolen from us, and even what we've forgotten and redeem them; placing them back into our hands when we are ready for them again.

That's what He has done for me and for my dream of being a Mama to many. Ever since Rick and I were married and we started talking about adoption my dream slowly started coming back to me. Until one day I realized that the desire to have LOTS of children was coming back to me and the dreams I had as a little girl came flooding back. Memories that had been killed long ago were reawakened, and passions were rekindled.  The dreams of my childhood have been completely re-awoken in me to the point that I can't imagine doing anything else but chasing after this dream. Fleshing it out more and more as I go along. I was meant to be a Mama to many babies from many places. I even catch myself praying sometimes that God would fill our home with the Nations, just like the song by Hillsong that says, "Oh Lord I ask for the Nations". I can't wait to see how He's going to continue to make this dream come true. I know that it may not look like I imagine it but this  time I won't forget this dream that has been placed back into my hands. What a good Daddy he is!

Do you have a dream from your childhood that maybe you've forgotten? I believe that He gives us those dreams at a young age because we have such strong faith to believe that we can do whatever is in our hearts to do. So, don't be afraid to ask for your forgotten or even dead dreams back. I believe that He is faithful to give them back to us, I've seen Him do it for me :)

Like the New Look?

I am definitely not blogger savvy, especially when it comes to changing the way things look. But, I think I did a pretty decent job using the new templates blogger offers. Now, if only I could figure out how to put a picture in my header and get the sidebars to not be transparent I would be really happy. Anyone with Know-how got any advice for me on how to figure those two things out without breaking everything? :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Missing Kids

I've been Dreaming again. Anyone remember why it can be dangerous when I dream? Especially if I'm dreaming of kids? Oh yeah, that's one of  the final signs that convinced me that we really were supposed to travel halfway across the World and bring this little treasure home.

I love it that God speaks to me in dreams. I don't really know why but I do, I think because they tell a story the way I can better understand. I am so much more a visual learner than anything else. God probably wants to hit me over the head so that I'll "get it" I sometimes think. When I dream and it feels so real, like it sticks with me for days, I know that God is speaking to me. Sometimes I'm not sure what the message is or I try to put my own spin on it, but He's given me good friends who can usually help me put the pieces together. Or the message is pretty simple and straight forward.

So, what's the point and where do the missing kids come into all this? Yeah.....

Lately, I've been having dreams of my own children, but they're children I've never met, or that I don't remember giving birth to. I have "lost" these children and can't seem to find them or even, sometimes, know where to begin to look for them. But, once I realize I'm missing them the urge to find them and make sure they are safe is so strong that I usually wake up with a yearning in my heart that I can't get rid of. I have dreamed a version of this dream at least three times that I can remember in the past couple weeks. Sometimes there are multiple children, sometimes only one. Sometimes boys and sometimes girls.

Last night I dreamed that I had given birth to a little girl, but I didn't remember it. I found out about her through a friend, I believe, and once I knew of her I had to find her. It seems that she had been born with a random genetic condition  and the doctors and nurses felt it was better for all if we didn't know of her, if we just forgot about her. (Sound Familiar to anyone?) When I found her she was alone, tiny, frightened, and I knew that she was slated for death. I took her and challenged any doctors, nurses or even well-meaning friends to stop me. They didn't.

What exactly does this dream or the others mean? I don't know. Maybe this latest one was just a different re-telling of Liza's story. She was alone, frightened, tiny, and she was destined for a place where her life would have held no importance to anyone. I challenged anyone to stop me from getting to her. They didn't.

 Maybe it means there are other children out there that are missing from our family? I really don't know, but I am praying that if there really are children missing from this family that God would make it clear and He would make a way. Of course, I already have a few that I would love to go and get if I just got the go ahead.

What I do know is that there are lots of children waiting for their families to find them. They ARE missing from their families and right now maybe their Moms and Dads don't even know they're missing them. I pray that God would reveal this to the ones who are supposed to parent these children. 

Missing Kids- all over the World. There are about 147 Million plus! Missing, but right under our noses. Please pray with me that their families would find them. Would realize they are missing them. Pray and ask God if maybe you are missing someone or a couple/few someones from your family. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spreading the Truth Pandemic

My Sweet Friend, Carolyn, founder of Project Hopeful made this video with her family and some friends a while back. I shared it on Facebook but never posted it here. I watched it again today and cried. Again. The truth is so beautiful. Really, isn't it? All I can think is if the truth in this video is spread how many children left alone and dying could be saved. Their lives literally saved as they are placed in families who are willing to love them and give them every opportunity to be healthy and to just be children.

Some of the things stated in the video that stick out to me - that I really need to remember for those conversations with folks stuck in the 80's are:

  • There has NEVER been a case of HIV transmission in a normal family living situation (that's not 1 or 2 cases here or there. that's N.E.V.E.R!!)
  • HIV is considered a chronic, but manageable disease. (like diabetes, psoriasis, Celiac's, and Chrohn's)
  • HIV is 100% preventable! WOW! Did you see that?  ONE HUNDRED PERCENT :)
  • HIV can be controlled with medication so that it can become UNDETECTABLE in blood tests. Umm, let me say again - WOW!
  • HIV is only spread 3 ways - Mother to infant (birth or breastfeeding), sharing drug needles, unprotected sex. 
These are the truths about HIV/AIDS, but so many don't realize. They really are stuck in the 80's. Even including people in my family. But, that's ok because I know these truths now and I use them every chance I get to try and change mind-sets. It's important, not for me but for the ones who wait. 

Like Angie! O.M.G! If you don't want to snatch her up and kiss her sweet face there is something wrong with you. Just sayin'. She is in the place Liza came from so I can tell you lots about it if you're interested. She waits only because of a diagnosis of HIV, seriously? And people go home from this country all the time because they weren't shown children under ages 3 or 4 without "serious medical concerns". I say to them, "PLEASE people! Get over yourselves!"

There's also Marcus. Oh, this sweetheart just looks like he needs his Mama :( Where ARE you Marcus' Mama?!

PLEASE look at this Beautiful baby boy! Wow! Sutton is gorgeous, ain't no two ways about it, he just is. The region he's in is FAST and easy. Someone is missing out on this baby boy. And they say there are no healthy children under 6 in this country. Guess that depends on your definition of healthy, now doesn't it?

Here's Wyatt. He's in the same region with Sutton and has the sweetest smile. His bio describes him as a wonderful little boy. He just needs a family to encourage him to continue to grow into a wise and caring young man. 

Handsome Avery. He's available to be adopted by single moms. Hooray for single mommies! (There should be a song for single moms, I imagine it to the tune of Beyonce's "Single Ladies"... LOL) Somebody, Single Mommy or Married Mommy, snatch him out of there and into your family.

Sweet Little Benji-baby (that's Noah's middle name and I use to call him that.. don't tell him I posted that here!) This little fella is also where Liza is from and I think I may have seen him once or twice but am not positive. If it was him he was a very friendly little guy- sweet and CUTE!

I can't leave out Larisa. Such a beautiful girl! She also represents all the "Older kids" who will age out and have almost no options because of Orphan status compounded by HIV status. This is SO wrong! Please someone take a chance on her. If it's not you then spread the word about her until her family sees her face and realizes they are missing her. Please....

Kaylee, because I have always had a soft spot for her. I am almost sure I have posted about her before but am too lazy to go find a link. We all thought she had a family, but just recently found out that she still waits. Dad-gum it she is CUTE! I know there is a family waiting for her somewhere, perhaps somewhere near me ;o)

Anna B, has also stolen my heart. I don't know why, maybe because of her beginnings, she was a preemie who they didn't think would make it the first year and then she just blossomed! I love it when the under-dog proves everybody wrong. I think she will accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, she  just needs a family to help her along the way. Plus, she just looks like a little fairy or an elf, doesn't she? :)

There are so many more kids who are waiting, you can see them here on Reece's Rainbow. Only because they have a diagnosis of HIV. Now that you know the Truth, aren't you wondering, like me - WHY? Please go to Project Hopeful for more info on adopting a child with HIV/AIDS.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Meeting Cool People

Tonight we had the honor of attending a fundraiser for another family in our area adopting a Reece's Rainbow child. The House family is adopting Martin from a country that is almost a relative to the one Liza is from. It was such a fun night. We got to meet some really nice people and sow into the adoption of another child. Martin has actually already been sent to an institution and the Melissa and Charlie are working really hard to get him out of there as soon as they can. Please consider going to their Family Sponsorship Page and helping them with a donation.

We also got to meet the Dirkes Family. Kelly and Kyle were so nice and easy to talk to. They are bringing home a little girl they are naming Charlotte and already call Charlie. I love the nickname Charlie for a little girl, so cute! That was pretty cool, and then later on I looked around and saw a cute little face I recognized from her Mama's blog. Bethany and her family were there and it was really neat to finally talk "In Real Life" to someone whose blog I've followed since a little before we committed to Liza.

BUT, the MOST amazing thing about tonight was meeting this beautiful Lady! An angel to all of us who have adopted or are adopting children we fell in love with because of Reece's Rainbow.

Yep! Andrea and her family were there! It was so awesome to watch her meet Liza for the first time. She cried, I cried, Liza hugged her and went back to eating. LOL I have said to myself many times since we brought Liza home that Andrea is our hero. If not for her we would never have known of Liza, we wouldn't have Liza with us now. People Magazine had it right when they honored her as a Hero Among Us - she truly is. If it wasn't real to me before it became real tonight when I saw how seeing Liza happy and healthy blessed her to the point of crying happy tears.

Tonight was a great night!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Miracle for Masha

Masha has over $17,000 in her Grant!!

Kind of a sappy sounding title, but whatever, I guess I am a sappy kind of person. Masha needs a family ASAP, and she doesn't have time for me to try to gather my thoughts and think of something witty to say or a title that might grab somebody's attention. She's set to soon, very soon, be sent to an institution that no child has been adopted out of. That is pretty much a death sentence for her, especially since right now at 4 years old she weighs 13 pounds and is the size of a ONE year old!

My friend Shelly and her husband are at her orphanage right now adopting their daughter and have visited with Masha. Here's what Shelly has to say about her:
"She has FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) and is the sweetest little muffin. Do not by any means let the diagnosis of FAS scare you off as Brian and I were blessed yesterday to be able to interact with her for close to 15 minutes and in that time she dispalyed more skills and cognitive abilities than most children we have encountered. Oh my is she a complete doll with a great sense of humor and a smile that lit up the room. We started playing peek-a-boo and immediately she copied us and just giggled up a storm! She also was talking to us, in Russian, but nevertheless she was talking. Then I started blowing her kisses and she acted as if she was catching them then laughed out loud.
Ok, so this is where I need you and please just take 2 minutes to help. You see we just found out yesterday that Masha was getting her physical, not to give her general medical care, but to prepare her for transfer to the adult mental institution. The very same place that Reagan is in now. The very director who has never allowed one single adoption. The place where a small child will be left to lay around with no interaction or love. The place these children are sent to die. Masha is 4 years old yet she weighs about 13 pounds and is the same size as our little Carrington. Currently prayers are being sent up all over this world for our little Reagan as Monday will be the day we face the biggest mountain yet: the Director. This woman will determine whether or not Reagan will have the chance to know the love of a family and whether or not Reagan will even get to see her next birthday. We have every bit of faith God called us over here to bring Reagan home but our emotional distress is over Masha and her future."

So, please help us find Masha's family! Post this to Facebook or twitter or wherever. Just get the word out so that this child can be saved from the place that she will be sent. Thanks!