Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Asa's Crazy Family...

Asa's orphanage puts family pictures over the children's beds. I took laminated collage posters (made at costco.com) when I went in October and December. It's time for our little guy to get some new photos! A group is going to Haiti in a few weeks and I'm sending a poster down with another mom (thank you, April!) so he'll have some new scenery. This is what Asa will be looking at when he goes to sleep and wakes up...

I can't tell you how many pictures I have with me making this strange face. When I see a camera, I'm overcome with the urge to stick out my tongue. But Asa needs to be fully aware of what a weirdo his mommy is. I'm just trying to keep it real for him. No need to pretend we're normal. Oh, and don't you love Camden's sweet bowl cut? I did. That changed about two weeks ago when he cut a small chunk of hair off the front. He's the first of my children to do that. I used to brag that my kids had never 1) drawn on the walls or 2) cut their own hair. Cam broke my streak. I'm mourning the loss of his little boy hair & he's now sporting a cute new "big boy" haircut. It's growing on me. Before and After pictures here.

This is Allyson and Chloe cross stitching. We're homeschoolers, you know, so I'm instilling in them the womanly art of needlework. They fashion all of our clothes out of handloomed fabric. After this picture was taken, they churned some butter, practiced for the national spelling bee and conversed in fluent Latin. No wait, none of that ever happened (except the cross stitching).

This was taken when we went to Kentucky for Christmas and that is my Grandpa Nash. He's a genius; a Bible scholar who has written quite a few books and was a Greek professor for many years. And I wouldn't joke about that.

Excuse me while I shed a tear, again, for the bowl cut.

This is me and my teen (also taken in Kentucky at Christmas). Sorry I was too lazy to flip this. I'm using my laptop to suck these pictures right off the server in Jim's office - and they're a pain to edit. I'm sure that's by design because Jim knows I could accidentally delete all of them or something. I'm pretty useless when it comes to technical stuff and my hubby (a computer guru) is fully aware of this. I require his IT services frequently. I also make dumb faces for the camera and don't teach my children Latin. And look at those ripped jeans on my poor daughter! This is what you have to look forward to, Asa.

Chloe. What a sweetie. Our family does have few redeeming qualities.

You may notice that Jim is conspicuously missing from these pictures. That's because he's usually the photographer. Allyson has coined the term "Papa-razzi" because he's a dad who loves to use the burst feature on our camera - click click click click click. I did manage to get one picture of him that made it onto the poster but he'd be embarrassed if I posted it here. I may not know how to mend my 15 year old's jeans - but I do know this: don't ever embarrass your computer support person. At least not if you want to continue blogging. ;o)

One Year Ago...

We realized that it was time.

It was one year ago today that I began e-mailing agencies so we could begin this adoption process. After almost seven years of hoping to adopt from Haiti and one false start in 2006 (we requested brochures and DVD's from a few agencies but, for some unknown reason, just stopped pursuing it) I'm not really sure what prompted us on January 29th, 2007. But I do know it was more than our own desires or understanding.

I was walking through our foyer with a basket of laundry when I just felt compelled to gather all the information I could and really begin to move forward with a Haitian adoption. So I yelled to Jim who was working upstairs in his office: "I'm going online to research some adoption agencies...."

Honestly, it had been months since we had talked about it and a full year since we had given it serious consideration. So I expected his response to be a little more surprised or negative but he said something like "Okay, let me know what you find out..."

And so began this blog a little over one week later. :o)

We've seen God's hand on this adoption from the beginning. If we had begun the previous year, we would have never found the absolutely amazing orphanage with which we're working. It wasn't being run by the current organization and I don't think our agency even dealt with them at that point. We definitely would not have found our Asa - he was a newborn and still with his birth family. If we had waited another year and started the process now, our agency wouldn't even work with us since we have three biological children and they're only accepting applications from those with two. It's very possible that, with the new laws being proposed, our dream of adopting from Haiti would have never come true had we waited much longer.

So today, I'm just feeling incredibly grateful that I got that little nudge one year ago. This is why:

Monday, January 21, 2008

This Weekend...

While we were planning a surprise birthday party for Jim and he was unwittingly trying to sabotage the whole thing, a wonderful event took place...

The Eimers family posted a fantastic homecoming update on their blog. I've been following their Ukrainian adoption story for quite some time and promise that you'll be blessed and inspired by it, as well.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Unity In Prayer...

Back in the summer, I read that another mom (Storing Up Treasures In Heaven) had felt compelled to set aside Mondays as a day of prayer and fasting for Haitian adoptions. This really touched me and I made a point of also using that as a day to pray specifically for all the children, families and government officials involved in Haitian adoption. My desire was simply to pray the children home. But as autumn came, and homeschooling began again, I have to admit that I was less faithful about setting aside time for specific and purposeful prayer.

More recently, though, the stakes seem to have become greater. There is a very real risk that Haitian adoption will become extremely restricted. It will be nearly impossible for families like ours to adopt if the proposed laws pass (info on petition here). The number of all foreign adoptions has gone down. This is not because there are less orphans in the world or because poor countries are now, magically, able to care for their orphaned & abandoned children. There is a push, specifically by UNICEF, to end international adoption. Why? They'll say that children belong in their own culture. From a November AP piece on this topic:

...By contrast, another adoption expert, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, depicted the new numbers as "totally depressing."

She said China and Russia reflected a trend in which countries opened themselves up to international adoption, then scaled back. She attributed this in part to UNICEF and other international organizations encouraging countries to care for children within their homeland, even when domestic programs such as foster care might be inadequate.

"UNICEF is a major force," Bartholet said. "They've played a major role in jumping on any country sending large number of kids abroad, identifying it as a problem rather than a good thing."

UNICEF's child protection spokesman, Geoffrey Keele, said the U.N. agency does believe it is preferable to care for orphaned or abandoned children in their own countries if good homes could be found for them.
(my emphasis)

The question becomes - HAS ANYONE FROM UNICEF EVER BEEN TO HAITI??? Does it appear that there are good homes for the more than ONE MILLION orphans (and I've heard that's a conservative estimate)? The issue is not the fear of child trafficking, as UNICEF claims. There are more than enough safeguards (homestudies, immigration approvals, etc...) to insure that adoptive parents are bringing these children into their homes to become part of their families.

My opinion is that this is a much bigger issue than corrupt governments, UNICEF or any other institution that pushes to keep orphans in desperate conditions. I truly believe that there is evil in this world that does not want children to be exposed to freedom, prosperity and more importantly, the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. An enormous percentage of families that adopt internationally are Christians.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father is this:
caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to be corrupted by the world.

Whether you choose to stand in unity with us on Mondays, or would like to set aside another time to lift up these issues, please join us in praying specifically for:
  • the orphans of the world (estimated at 150 million - at least one million of which are in Haiti)
  • the continued opportunity for Christian families to adopt them from the most horrifying of conditions
  • that any unjust laws are stopped before they pass

I know there is power in unified prayer. There are a number of adoption blogs that I read frequently and I pray for those families and children on a regular basis. If you are adopting or have a specific prayer request - please post a comment or send an e-mail so I can join with you.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Please Follow This Link...

And look at these faces. Do you know someone who could make a difference in the life of one of these precious teenagers? Cara posted this on her blog and I feel like it really needs to be shared.

I know that with the proposed law changes in Haiti, adoption might not be a possibility for some. Until the situation is resolved, some orphanages and agencies will not match children with people who don't fit within the potential guidelines. But....

I believe that God could lead the perfect families to find and fall in love with these children. Please pass this link along. Thank you!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Our Little Guy...

I don't think Jim realized just how itty-bitty Asa was until he saw this picture (taken by another mom on the trip). His cheeks are deceivingly chubby and in most pictures, you'd assume he's the size of an average two year old. He actually weighs less than all our other babies were at age one.

Isn't he precious!?!?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More Pictures From Haiti in December...

Can be found here.

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. We're busy unpacking from a very long trip and putting away all our treasured Christmas decorations. I feel like, with the holidays over and a new year beginning, we'll be acutely aware of the passage of time. Each month that goes by has a significant meaning since we have kind of a "mental timeline" of how the adoption process will go. Even if we remain conservative in our assumptions, I've come to realize that nothing is predictable in Haiti. So we just wait and pray.