Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not a teacher

Monday through Friday from August until May we get up and do school at our kitchen table.

I never thought this would be something I would choose. I am famous for verbalizing the things I will "never" do. For instance I was never going to send my kids to public school, and I was never going to homeschool. They started in private school but once we truly realized we had bitten off more than we could chew I started home schooling Jared in first grade. Then my mom became sick with cancer and I felt she needed me so we enrolled Jared in public school. It became very apparent to me then and more so now that we needed to include God in every single decision we will ever make because He does care and His ways are not our ways. His ways are higher! Isn't that awesome? That gives me so much peace.

I learned that but I think it took Brian a little longer. Even when the kids seemed to struggle and I would suggest home schooling them he wouldn't even want to discuss it.
But then we moved to North Carolina.

Suddenly, he felt as if God was telling us to home school the boys and I was terrified. You see, I'm not a teacher. I don't even have a four year degree. I don't think very much of myself when it comes to leading others. I'm pretty insecure.
His ways are higher.
Once we made the decision and started researching curriculums and talking to as many people as we could who have done this before, we made our choices and placed our order. I got a table for school, registered with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education , had my attendance sheet ready, a school schedule and we were off. And we did great! We had our ups and downs and we weren't always friends that first year but we made it through and my kids have never done so well on an end of year test. Now, people can say what they will about tests being dumbed down etc etc but I'm not interested in all of that. What I know is that my kids learned a lot and they excelled. And most of all, I am a teacher!!!

Here we are about to end year three and yes we have had plenty of bumps in the road but remember the whole His ways are higher part? Our second school year we were blessed to be part of an amazing co-op led by my good friend Laura which lightened my teaching load (since Laura is an actual teacher) and put the kids with their friends 2 days a week. We have done it 2 years now and I have loved (maybe not all the time) sharing the teaching responsibilities with other moms who's passion for home school is as fierce as mine. I have been so blessed to learn from these other moms and even from the kids. I have been more encouraged than I can even begin to express. I feel so much more adequate and much more equipped to handle the high school years thanks to this group of women who have poured so much into me these past 2 years.

So, all I'm really saying is this: seek God in ALL your decisions for yourself and your kids and don't sell yourself short because you feel insecure. I've seen this said on more church signs then I can count and its so amazingly true.

And we are ALL called.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So much to say...

I am not a writer and therefore get completely overwhelmed when it comes to blogging. I allow myself into wrong thinking and comparing to others who write so beautifully and eloquently. I have all these thoughts and feelings, this adoption journey alone is one that could fill these pages endlessly. And yet, I don't. I don't write and I don't document all these things because most of the time I feel completely unable to articulate it just right.

So, here I am home from school co-op with a sick kid attempting to share all the latest news. Hang on this could be long.

Two weeks ago was by far THE worst week our little family has had in quite sometime. I, personally allowed myself to become so upset and frazzled I broke out in a rash. Pathetic huh?

I have allowed God to carry all my worries and cares for months. Casting my cares because He cares for me and guess what? Its been pretty easy. His word is so true. But last week I just lost it. Now bear with me for a minute because for those not on the adoption journey it can be hard to understand.

We have been on a paperwork run for over a year now. Just when you think there is light at the end of the tunnel some government agency is there to assure you you are wrong in your thinking and here is some more paperwork to prove they are in control. We are in the last stages of our paperwork and are so close to our dossier being sent to China. We can taste the victory. Well, China likes victories too and I feel they relish in their control. I don't know this for sure but based on the way they change their rules whenever they feel like it I think I'm right.
One of their newest changes, at least to my knowledge is they no longer accept any paperwork over 6 months old.
So, let me back up. The last stage before all our dossier info gets sent to our agency so our agency can send it to China is for it to go through the authentication process in DC and then over to the Chinese Consulate. This has to be couriered from one place to the next. We found a company that does this called The Assistant Stork. Amazing people and highly recommended. They sent us paperwork (haha) to fill out and as I'm filling it out I notice the top in big bold letters.
I stop writing. I'm sure I knew this, I 'm sure I received an email from our agency with this exact information. But until you are at that exact stage you read it and move on.
I read it to Brian and asked him to look through our paperwork quick before I write one more letter. Sure enough we have 2 documents out of date, not too bad you think. Except that one of those docs is my Canadian birth certificate which took me 8 weeks to receive the first time around. All I can think is another 2 month delay?!? I drop the pen and can no longer contain the tears. They fall and I sob. I can no longer pretend this is OK. Its not. Why, I cry is it this hard to do something so good. Why does it matter that my birth certificate is 6 months and 2 weeks old? The sad part is, no one can answer these questions for me. IT IS WHAT IT IS!!!!
I leave Brian's office defeated and questioning if adoption is for us. I go back to home school co-op and receive some much needed encouragement from my friends.
An hour or so has passed and I'm fine again when Brian comes running over telling me that no he hasn't fixed the birth cert thing but he has found a way to stop the clock on all the other pieces of paperwork that will expire in less than 3 weeks. So, we drop about a grand for all the extra fees but are assured there is a guaranteed 5 day turn around for the rest of the paper work to be stamped authenticated by the Chinese Consulate.
I can now tell you, I just heard from the Assistant Stork 3 days ago and all is well minus the last 2 pieces of paperwork which we are working on. And incidentally Canada is working with us and I should be receiving my birth cert by the end of this week.
The above was just one Tuesday morning. Now for Tuesday afternoon.

We returned home from home school co-op to find Jewel (our 92lb great dane) had gotten out of her crate and had peed over half my bed causing $300 of damage. The only thing that had saved my mattress was the 2 1/2 inch foam topper we had on there. But everything else was ruined. It was awful and the sad realization that had already begun to plague me a couple of weeks before was clearly apparent. She needed a family that could be home for her more than we could thus began my crying all afternoon about that. Jayden was heartbroken as was I but as I've always maintained: you don't have a dog just because you can. You have a dog because you can give it the love, care and attention it deserves. Thankfully, even as heart broken as Jayden was he really did understand that. We placed an ad on Craigslist for her and before the day was over had 30 inquires for her. It was a stressful thought giving her to another family. I wanted someone for her that would give her what we couldn't. So, I prayed and I cast my cares. I knew God cared about this and I knew He would take care of it. And He did. By Friday afternoon we were meeting her new family. A stay at home mom with a 2 and a half year old who had been looking for a dane for their 12 year old dog and because she was home alone a lot due to the fact her husband was in the service. She's been gone a week and a half but have received pics and updates. Its definitely quieter around here but we feel good that we made a good decision in her best interest.

I just want to take a minute (not that this is academy award worthy or anything) to thank some people who were there for us that week.
Laurie, your words of encouragement were invaluable not to mention your help painting. I appreciate your friendship more than I will ever be able to express.
Kim and April, thanks for the hugs and words of encouragement.
Anyone I texted regarding the adoption stuff. Most likely Tracy although I'm really not sure because the week was a blur. ;0)
Most of all my amazing hubby. He has tirelessly worked on this paperwork and been a rock when I feel like we're sinking. There will never be enough words to show my appreciation.

Our baby girl is coming home. God is SO in control and so much bigger than any paperwork issues we could ever encounter. I would like to say I never forgot that during my epic melt down, I just had a moment. I love that God understands my humaness and loves me anyway.
I just know that He will use us to be an encouragement for others on their journey's.

And just one more thing. This past couple weeks has been really exciting because the 2 families we met at adoption class a year ago have positive news! Mollie and Reade just brought home their little boy Aaron from China and Tracy and Jason leave the 27th to meet their little boy J for the first time. God is so good and the best part about this whole thing has been meeting these precious families, getting to know them, praying for them and watching God do His thing is their lives.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the support.

Ps. 68:5-6
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

Galatians 4:4-6
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father."

Romans 8:14-16
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.