Saturday, March 24, 2012

The next adventure!

I feel like I am sitting on the edge of my chair these days!
Today I return to AFRICA to do all I can to complete the endless forms and appointments to complete our adoption. I will be spending two weeks there, on this huge quest, and am hoping with my whole heart that I will be returning before easter with my babies.
What a whirlwind!

I know when I wait for something it seems like it never gets here! Today, it feels like it came really fast this week, mostly because I couldn't get everything done that I planned to do. Ash has been such a great help and support over the last few days and weeks of waiting, and I have complete confidence in her and Mike while I am gone. I have alot of people committed to praying for me and the boys, and I totally feel God's presence going before me and preparing the way!

I am excited about 2 weeks with my dear friend Christina in Africa! She has a wonderful heart for our Lord, and is a wonderful visionary. She has been called to begin a new orphan ministry in Liberia and has asked Mike and I to partner in prayer with her as board members. I hope and pray there will be other ways to minister with her in this new endeavor and I am so excited to see what God's hand is doing in the land I have grown to love. The needs are great and children are waiting for a place to be loved and accepted. I know we are willing, so we ask God to open more doors for us as we travel there!

I am missing my dear Jenni who traveled in December with me. I felt so blessed to have her with me then, and this time it is in spirit! I know my room will be very still and quiet while I am alone, and I will miss her encouragement so very much. It's a huge and draining experience to be surrounded by all the needs and poverty and I am praying God comforts me and keeps me from loneliness.

My two littles, Tara and Tom finish up their Upwards Basketball season today. It's been a wonderful couple of months of watching them grow and hone their skills, and it's been awesome to see them learn to work together as a team member. I am so proud of them both!

Part of what drives me to adopt the boys from africa is due to the terrific growth I have seen in these 7 kids. Each of them came with poor diagnosis for health, mentally and physically, yet they are thriving and growing in ways we wondered if it would ever happen. There are trials, and heartbreak along the way, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! I am thankful that God saw fit to make me their mother. I have great hope for the future of these boys and what they will accomplish! I know God has directed their little lives this far, and will continue to do it all. They are our miracle boys and will bring glory to the LORD!!

Thanks for prayers and encouragement!! Off we go!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

a loss unspeakable

As parents, we are always thrilled to see our children succeed in life. When they are little, successes may seem insignificant to others watching, but as a parent we are counting each milestone with hearts full of smiles. It is so good to see them thrive.

Now that I have three grown up kids, they continue to amaze me every day. The ways they reach out to others, in their own home and town, and the things they do that make me proud to say, "hey, that's my kid!!" I could list several things in each of the older kids lives that make my heart smile, and swell with pride. Today I want to focus on my oldest son.

Scotty was always a gentle and loving kid, loved being outside doing men's work, and grew to be a successful adult with a wife and three children. The Coast Guard has offered them opportunities they could never have experienced had they staying in our town, although I miss him like crazy. We have shared excitement over his achievements in the CG, but even more than that, his successes as a father. It's never easy to parent, but some people make it look like it is.

Scott has 3 boys, all beautiful grandsons we adore like I never thought was possible. They are the only kids in the world who call us PaPa and Gramma, and their personalitlies are emerging to be loveable and kind children. That doesn't happen on it's own. It takes some pretty good parents. Scotty chose well when he picked is wife, Britt, and they make an awesome team. They are active, healthy, and loving beyond their years. They focus on their bundles of energy and do so many cool things with them. As grandparents, we are thrilled with that for our grandsons. They are happy and well adjusted kids, (not to mention extremely handsome boys too!).

So when they told us a while back that they were pursuing adoption, we were pleased. We knew they had seen our path that was often heartbreaking, trying and expensive. They were not going into it lightly. We encouraged them and were proud of their decision. I was hoping they could sale through the process, and not have any of the pain or issues that we had been dealt over the last 4 years of our journey towards adoption.

I know they considered many options, but they grew committed to adopting a child who was HIV+. They studied the disease, searched their hearts, and knew this child would become a part of their family as surely as the first three. Then they "met" an 8 month old boy from the Congo, who they felt God had directed them to. They would call him "Kembe" and began to prepare for his arrival. The crib was set up, and we all waited patiently as paperwork was completed before their travel to get him.

Then they got the call that changed that plan forever. Baby Kembe had contracted malaria, and did not survive. What a sad, sad call to have to go through. What a devastation to their family and to all of us who loved and waited. He was to be their son, our fourth grandson, and now he was gone.

As christians, we have our deep faith to fall back to when tragedy strikes. but as much as we all truly believed God had a plan, it did not eleviate the suffering of our own loss. We grieved for the baby who would not see his first birthday with a family who desperately loved him already, and we, as parents, grieved for the pain and loss our own children were having to endure.

It is a journey of faith, a major growth spurt in our spiritual lives. It changes what we expected, and what we had hoped for in our future plans. It reminded us again that our children are "on loan" from our God and our plans are not always HIS plans. It is a time to reflect and determine what life really means.

We will always remember baby Kembe in our family tree, although he is going to be celebrating his first birthday in heaven with his Creator. We will shed tears. We will miss what will never be with this precious child. But we also are spurred on to action. Britt has determined that she will make it her mission to help provide mosquito nets to far villages in Africa who have no protection against malaria. We are joining in this cause. It does not bring back the child we lost, but prayerfully, perhaps it will save the lives of other babies in his village.

I have been encouraged that Scotty, in spite of this great loss, has not given up on the plan of adoption that God placed in his heart. I am thankful that baby Kembe has been the beacon that directed them to this area of need, and we look forward to another referral that will match a baby with their awesome family. It's been a loss, but they are turning it into a positive in what they are allowing God to do in their lives.

See what I mean? I love my son's heart. And his family. And his determination to do good in a world full of suffering and loss.
I am proud of you, Scott, and know God truly has a plan for growing your famiily. Thanks for keeping your eyes on Him. It is the only way to make it in a broken world.