Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are you crazy?

 "I’d much rather live a meaningful life than a comfortable one.” Dr. Steven Arrowsmith

So throughout the last four years I have done a lot of blog reading. Initially when we started investigating adoption, I found that I was able to get more "real" info from reading about others' experiences on their blogs. So over the years, I have found some blogs that have taught, challenged, surprised and often echoed my own thoughts. So I have decided that as I come across blogposts that I feel need sharing, I will. This particular article below appeared on my Rainbow Kids email newsletter. Rainbow Kids is an amazing website that hosts a very large international photolisting of older and special needs children who are available for adoption. Many people have found their child on this listing. They also provide personal stories, helpful articles, and resources related to adoption and special needs.

So keep in mind as you read the article below that although some of the numbers and facts are not the same as our family, many of his answers to his questions are similar to what mine would be - especially to question #5. The pictures are from his article...not of our Ting (can't wait to share those as soon as I can!). The other funny thing...he says "we definitely don't want one of those huge, ugly, white vans"...hello...WE have one of those! LOL
Are you Crazy?
June 01,2012 / Jeremy Staton
When others find our that we are adopting, there are a number of "standard" questions that we are asked.
  • What country are you adopting from?
  • When will you be able to get your children?
  • How long is the process?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Who is your agency?
But there is one question that I am asked more than any other.
This popular question isn’t asked immediately. It requires a process of 5 questions before the inquirer builds up enough courage to get to the real one.
Our SonQuestion #1. How many kids to you have?
In case you don't know, four. Infertility is not an issue. It seems that if I wink at Amanda, she gets pregnant. Enough said.
Question #2. How many kids are you adopting?
After I say two, their eyes grow very large and they pause. I can see their brains working away on the math. They are doing the addition over and over again. 4+2=6. No, that can’t be right. Nobody does that. Let’s try again. 4+2=6!
The problem seems so simple, but the solution, the number 6, seems impossible. Perhaps crazy.
Question #3. The third question is respectful. What are their special needs?What physical problems do they have?
But the answers only complicate the arthimetic. 4+2+special needs= incredibly crazy. Maybe even stupid.
Questions 1-3 never provide the clarity they seek.
Question #4. Are these two kids siblings?
A legitimate question on the surface, but it is only an attempt to try to understand in a hope to avoid the last question. If the 2 kids are brother and sister, then that helps the math make sense.
But the answer is no. They aren't siblings. At least not yet.
Let's update the formula. 4+2+special needs+they aren't already brother and sister = certifiably insane.
Question #5. So then the final question comes. The one they have wanted to ask from the beginning, but were too afraid to. A question driven out of the inability to comprehend what they are hearing.
Great Question.
Our DaughterWhy would you do this? Why do you want to have 6 kids? Why would you have a family of 8 on purpose? Why would you take on so much? Why would you adopt 2 at the same time, especially if they are not related? Why do you want to have a family so big that you have to drive one of those big mega-vans?
The answer may seem strange. We want none of those things.
We don't want our lives to be incredibly difficult. We never set out to have a family of 8. We never wanted kids with special needs. We don't want to deal with surgery. We don't want to manage wheelchairs and walkers and physical therapy. We don't want to deal with attachment issues. We don't want to add development delay to our list of problems.
We definitely do not want one of those huge, ugly, white vans.
Our Why:
We are doing this because we are compelled to. There are two orphans in this world who need a mom and dad.
We are doing this because we can.
Yes, there are many other things we can do that would be much easier on us. We could spend more time and money on ourselves. We can do short term mission trips with the intent of easing our conscience and longing for something greater. We could keep going to church on Sunday mornings convinced that when Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him, he meant sitting in a pew at church.
But life is not about arriving at death safely. Life is about giving it all. It is about saying thanks to our God who gave us all by giving everything we can for the good of his kingdom.
We will find room for our soon-to-be children in our lives. We will find room for them in our homes. We will try our best to cram them all in our much smaller and easier to drive minivan.
We have already found room for them in our hearts.
We choose this for ourselves because we choose to love, and we are going tolet God fill in the rest.

Question #6.

There is one more question to this list. I wish more people would keep going and not stop at #5. I wish they would ask it of themselves.
If we don’t do this, then who will?
Jeremy Staton runs Living Better Stories at http://www.jeremystatton.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family happenings...

Hi peeps! With all the adoption hoopla going on around here, I realize I haven't kept up to date with the family happenings around here.  We have had Easter, some birthdays (#3 became a teen), a prom, a graduation (more about that in a later post), two ER trips for a concussion and stitches, school music concerts, a trip to Germany (John), trips to cousins and grandparents, visits from several sets of cousins, lots of "Goodwill Hunting" with the cousins, lots of swimming,  a kung fu belt test, dance recitals, a "Gotcha Day" celebration, and I am sure a whole bunch of other stuff that have made my life too busy and made me feel like a chicken with my head cut off... 

Here are some photos to get you up to speed...I realize that often I was too busy to even think to pull out my phone/camera..

Easter Day 2012

Drew and his girlfriend Zoe

Drew and other high school grads being recognized and prayed for in church.
First ER visit of two for a concussion
Hanging out at the cousins' pool.
When the cousins visited, we spent an afternoon hunting at three different Goodwills - here is our collective haul!!
Gotcha Day 2012
Much more went on and I haven't been so great of catching it all on film. April, May and June are always so busy. Life is slowing down a bit now with summer in full swing. The four older kids have all been blessed to attend Christian youth conferences this summer (the older two are there now), and the little girls have been enjoying vacation Bible schools at several area churches, and swim lessons. As always, we have spent lots of time at the pool, playing games, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. The beach trip is just two weeks away - woohoo! We can't wait!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Time for an update I suppose...I haven't been the best blogger but man, life has been full and busy and well, by the time I get to sit down to write at night, I am just too tired.  So many happenings ... where to begin...

ADOPTION NEWS:  Thank you, thank you to the many friends and family who have so graciously given to us!! We so appreciate you coming alongside us as we embark on this adoption. The costs are high (in many ways!) and we thank you for giving us gifts to help us reach our goal. The "chip-in" to the right (you won't see it if you are viewing this on your phone!), is a bit deceiving as most of our gifts have come through the mail or in person. A few of you have "chipped in" on the website here.

Our puzzle is coming along - over 100 pieces have been sponsored!! (total pieces = 500). We are overwhelmed and thank God for the generosity coming from our friends and family as we move along in this process.

You will find a list at the bottom of the blog of all of our puzzle sponsors. We so APPRECIATE you! For those of you still wanting to help us finish our puzzle, each piece is a $10 donation. You can donate to us in person or through the mail, or by clicking on the "chip-in" button to the right. This will take you to paypal where you can purchase a puzzle piece(s).

So where are we??? Our homestudy is written and about to be finalized with our placement agency (it may even happened today). What is a homestudy, you ask?? It is a long document written by a social worker that details all the many things about us and our family and everything about us. In order for that to be written we had to fill out MANY forms, applications, answer many questions about ourselves, file background checks from every state we have ever lived in as well as the DMV, child protective services, and police. We and the kids all got physicals and TB tests. It involved writing our autobiographies, sending for new copies of birth certificates and marriage license, photocopying insurance cards and passports, submitting photos and putting together a family fire and safety plan. The dog even had to have a letter from the vet saying he is healthy and up to date with his shots (luckily they didn't ask if he smelled - we might have failed there)!!  Six letters of recommendations written by employers, friends, and family and even Drew (because he turns 18 soon - can you imagine writing a letter of recommendation for your parents??). Fingerprints, financial forms, lots of other forms and letters from us, three home visits with the social worker...have I forgotten something...well, probably. You get the picture. Did I mention that everything had to be notarized?? We have been thoroughly searched and investigated and probed...and we made it!!

What is next? Well, Friday I mailed in nearly all the items for the dossier. The dossier is the actual packet of items that goes to China, along with the homestudy, as our family's file - that represents us as a family. It has many items in it - each of which we had to get notarized and then each will get sent to the government of our state and then on to DC for stamps and stickers and signatures and who-knows-what-else.  Luckily in this adoption, our agency will do those steps for us!

So that is where we are. Most of the paperwork is done now. There will be another round of fingerprinting up at a location in DC for the immigration approval and probably some more forms to sign and of course, fees to pay.  We are now all about saving, raising money, praying, and waiting!!

Hope to post some updates on all the family has been busy with over the last two months in my next entry. Life has been so full and we have been having lots of fun...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Let my life be the proof..

To say that I am uncomfortable with some of the comments that have come my way lately is an understatement.

People are so kind and say such kind things but I do find myself uncomfortable with the adjectives they use to "praise" me and my family. Those of you who have adopted or done anything big for God (ie: something that seems CRAZY to the world) might understand what I am talking about. Please don't get me wrong. I appreciate the sweet comments and praises for being - kind, dedicated, self-sacrificing, patient, loving, generous, amazing, etc...


Although I and my family might have moments of each of those personality traits, we are no more those things than someone else...on our own. ANY of those things that you think you see or think we are - I just can't take credit for.

The credit is all God's. ALL - EVERY BIT - ALWAYS.

The other day I was STRUCK by a song. Has that ever happened to you?? The words are straight from one of the most popular, well-known, and dare I say - overused (not sure scripture can ever be overused but...) scripture from the Bible.  1 Corinthians 13. The love chapter. 

Like you, I have read this chapter many times, heard it at countless weddings, and even had to nervously read it from the pulpit a few times. Yeah, yeah, we all know...it's about love. But in the car the other day I was really hit by the words in a whole new way. This chapter is not just about how to live a life of loving the special people (our spouses, our families) in a nice way. Our lives should show Christ's love always, and in all we do and to everyone we encounter - every day, all the time. Wow. This is not about being a super great person who is nice.
(Yikes, I have a long way to go...really...)

This is love. And this love isn't easy. It can be uncomfortable, hard, tiring, challenging, boring, irritating, long-suffering, painful - but also joyful, rewarding, and fun.  
And when we really show it, we are allowing God to come through us to another. Then maybe those descriptives above will be seen more and more in our lives. (Not just what people think we are because we have chosen to follow God on a unconventional project!) Proof that He is who He is and what He is - LOVE. 

(Just reread this and I feel I should put a disclaimer here at this point: I realize I am not stating any novel or profound new meaning of this chapter. Just suffice it to say that what I love about God's word is how it meets us at the moment we are hearing or reading it and speaks fresh each time when we are really listening). Hearing this song convicted me that the words my friends and family are saying about me (and my family) need to be REALLY what I am more and more and more. That if I am really heeding God's word and allowing Him to change me and my life, then those descriptives above will be more accurate more of the time. Let my life and my actions, be the proof of His love. 

Here's the song...enjoy...(I found several versions/videos on youtube but this one I particularly liked!)

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