Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teaching the Word

This little guy has a mind for scripture like non I have ever seen so young.  By his 4th birthday he had about 6-8 scriptures memorized. He just has a mind for memorization and we found something that works for us to take full advantage of hiding the word in his heart now.

It all started with one little card and one little question.  

"Mommy, will you read this to me?"

Ethans 1st memory verse.

Ethan means strong. (I could go on about that forever).

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

This little bookmark held it's place in Ethan's devotion and when he recognized it said his name he wanted to know what else it said.  After about a week he started saying aloud with us every night before bed.  Soon, we could ask him, "Hey Ethan!  What does Joshua 1:9 say?" and he could tell us.

*Light bulb*

We started slowly adding versed to his night time routine and when he got one memorized we would add another.  Now that he knows so many, we just choose a few randomly that he knows and have him tell them to us.  

He is learning God's word and we are not only helping him memorize it, but my memorization and recall of scripture has greatly increased as well.  Not only that, but his understanding of the scriptures and the importance of knowing the Word melts my heart.  He begged his Nana to buy him that little cross at the bookstore because he said it "remembered him of Jesus and how he died for us".

So, if you are curious what scriptures our little guy has learned, I have decided to list them below.  Not for bragging rights, but maybe to give some one reading this encouragement to start teaching their little ones the Word as well.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Psalms 3:5-6

Be on the alert.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

For God so loved the world He sent His only son so that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
John 3:16-17

Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is the first commandment with a promise; that it may go well with you and you may live a long life in the land.
Ephesians 6:1-3

Ask and you shall receive and your joy will be the fullest joy.
John 16:24

Thank the Lord for He is good.  His love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Do not envy wicked men.  Do not desire their company.  For their hearts plot violence and their lips talk about making trouble.
Proverbs 24:1-2

The Lord is my strength and shield;
I trust him and he helps me.  
I am very happy, 
I praise him with my song.
Psalm 28:7

Give your worries to the Lord and He will take care of you.
Psalm 55:22

No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man.  God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bare.
1 Corinthians 10:13

For I know the thoughts I think toward you says the Lord.  Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

And what does the Lord require of you?  To ask justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Whatever you do in word or deed do for the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17

And of course, Joshua 1:9


Monday, September 26, 2011

Empowered to Connect

On Friday, Ben and I drove just outside of Nashville, to Brentwood, TN to the Empowered to Connect Conference that was sponsored by Show Hope.  

There was SO SO SO much information given at this conference that I will have to pass much of it along in (many) separate posts, but here are just some of the highlights of the weekend!

*Dr. Karyn Purvis.  This woman is amazing.  Her research and presentations are a perfect balance of science, faith and action.  If you are an adoptive family, I highly recommend purchasing her book, The Connected Child.  Ben was so impressed, he wanted to purchase the video resource library.

* Getting to spend some time with our friends (in real life) Jason and LeeAnne.  They are adopting from China and we got to spend time together at the conference and at a few meals.  It's really encouraging to know another local family on this journey!

* We packed lunches for Friday and ate on the way to Financial Peace Plaza.  Dave Ramsey's home office is also in Brentwood and even though we knew he was out of town promoting his new book, we had to go by the office and check out the bookstore and studios and say hi to Martha, the guest services manager.  Martha was so kind to us and shared stories about Dave and gave us cookies and tea.
Where Dave would have been sitting if he was in the studio.

* We had Coldstone Creamery for dessert on Friday night.  This was a treat, because we usually don't splurge on eating dessert out and Ben has been lactose intolerant all of his adult life until about 3 months ago.

*We met Bri and Eric from Sweet Carolina Grace!  It was so great to actually meet another adoption blogger and talk about adoption, our bio boys and blogging.  

It was truely amazing to be around so many like-minded people and to see all the adoption t-shirts and lots of babies!  Most of the conference talked about children from hard places and for foster/adoptive parents, but Ben and I intend to use some of the techniques and parenting ideas with Ethan.  We want to be connected parents and we want long-lasting, meaningful relationships with our kids and really enjoyed the way Dr. Purvis  linked the biology of the brain and behavior.  It made so much sense!

I hope to post much more about the conference and pass along all the little nuggets shared by Dr. Purvis and the adoptive parents that shared their stories, but now, its definitely time to get some rest!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little boy in red and yellow.

August 29th gave us a challenge we have not yet had in this adoption journey.  A phone call from our agency asking if we would be interested in looking a photos of a 19 month old little boy in South Korea that is ready to be adopted.  He had some medical issues at 2 months and his agency was waiting to see if it caused any long term issues.  It hadn't, so now he is 19 months and ready to find his forever family.

August 30th was my Dad's biopsy that officially found his lung cancer and the start of a 4 day hospital stay.

We prayed about this little boy.  When the email with his photos came through, we took a deep breath and looked.  The first thing we did is smile and look at his big eyes and long black hair sitting in the floor in his red and yellow outfit.  We commented on how adorable he was and neither one of us wanted to say what was in our hearts, but later we found out it was the same thing...this is not meant to be our child...

"They" say you will just know when you see your child's face for the first time.  You will know that it is the child meant for your family.  I can tell you that over the next couple of days, I agonized over the decision to see this child's file.  We prayed about it and with Dad in the hospital recovering from the biopsy and a collapsed lung, I had a lot of time to seek God on this.  Naturally, fear set in.  In all forms.

I thought, "What if we do accept to look at this child's file, accept this as a referral, and start this process?  He  would be over 2 when we got to travel...our homestudy is only approved for up to 24 months...would they deny us once we got there for that?"  "What if we don't look at this child's file and no one else does either...what will happen to him?"  "What if this child IS meant for our family?  What if this is his last chance?  What if this is our last chance?"

This was not a decision we took lightly.  We tried to look at it from all angles, but even when we tried to talk about saying yes to even looking at the child's file, but we just did not feel peace about it.

Everyday since then, this little one has been on my heart..  His life right now, his future, his biological family.  Would you all please join with me in praying for the almost 20 month old little boy in the red and yellow outfit.

(I want to clarify that this was not an official referral.  We aren't even technically on the wait list because our file is on hold with our placement agency until Korea starts issuing referrals again this fall.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shyla's 2nd

Shyla's 2nd birthday in Heaven was just a little over 2 weeks ago. The day was a blur and I don't really feel like I did a great job doing things for her this year, but it was all a little over whelming.

My dad was still in the hospital from his biopsy he had had the Tuesday and my brother and his family had driven in from Oklahoma City, so we were going to try to get to the hospital early.  We stopped by the cemetery on our way out of town and brought our girl some roses.

My Mom had gotten the dragonfly and we placed it between Shyla and Jakin's stones.  There is the large one with pink wings then there are smaller ones with blue wings and pink butterflies that you can't see real well in the photo.

Ethan still likes to go to "Shyla and Jakin's" as he calls it.  He has never called it a cemetery and I know he has heard us refer to it as one.

I made pink cupcakes and took them to my Mom's house to share with everyone and we went to the hospital to see my Dad.  He was in the CVU, so we could only go back to see him a couple of people at a time and kids weren't allowed back, so we took turns and played with the kids in the waiting room.

Dad was released that night about 6 and we ran a couple of errands and ate dinner together.

I know it's been two years and I know it makes people sad, but compared to last year, no one really mentioned her (besides other loss moms on fb and a few other close friends on my fb page).  The first year I said what I wanted to say and grieved openly.  The 2nd year, I was pregnant with Jakin, lost Jakin and started the adoption process.  I don't feel like I can grieve as vocally as before.  Like people expect me not to talk about her any more.  I mean, I know it was a terribly busy day and dad being in the hospital, getting his cancer diagnosis a few days earlier, labor day weekend, family traveling in from out of state, but I felt like I didn't do a good job remembering her and if I don't, who will?

Maybe I will do better next year.  Maybe not.  Maybe this is just part of the journey is letting go a little more every year  I just really dislike feeling like she is forgotten already and I don't know what this 3rd year of grief holds for me.

I guess that's why C.S. Lewis said that grief is a lot like suspense.

But I also believe that is why God tells us that He is our refuge and strength, our counselor, our hope...He is.  Not anyone else.  Just him.  Not just during the first year of grief, but all the days of my life.

"The Lord has sent me to bind up the comfort all who mourn and provide for those who bestow beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a Spirit of despair."

~ Isaiah 61:1-3 and quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:18

No matter what and no matter how long it's been He is Emanuel.

God is with us.

 El Shaddai.

All Sufficient.

I have to just remind myself as time goes by, whether others speak her name or not, God is with us and is all I need.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I have been up to.

I wish I knew where to start!  Whew!  The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of business and the only reason I have a chance to write today is that I am feeling under the weather and that means I couldn't go to my dad's radiation appointment today.

Dad had his biopsy done a couple of weeks ago, during which his lung collapsed and he had to have a drain tube put in his chest.  The test confirmed large cell carcinoma and he had to stay in the hospital for about 4 days.

September 2nd was our beautiful daughter, Shyla Joy's 2nd birthday in Heaven.  It was also the day my brother, sis-in-law and niece made it in from Oklahoma and the day Dad was finally released from the hospital.  It was a long, emotional day.

My younger brother lives about 2 hours away and he was going to come home for the weekend, but his breaks went out on his car, so my mom went and picked him up.  My older brother and his family stayed for Labor Day weekend and between Dad's Dr appointments, working at the Crisis Pregnancy Center 2 days a week, homeschooling and taking my younger brother back to Lexington I have been running like crazy.  Throw in there it's high school soccer season (my husband is a soccer official) and Ben is out of town a few nights a week and that we had another large fundraiser during those two weeks means I have not had much time to sit at the computer for long!

Dad's first radiation treatment was this afternoon and I am waiting to hear how he is doing now.  They said it shouldn't be too hard on him, but they are going to do treatments 5 days a week for about 6 weeks.  The chemo Doctor wouldn't even really give him a consult until he gets his insurance stuff worked out...please pray that is resolved soon.  The basic gist of it is that he is a veteran and had a biopsy done in April at the VA hospital.  They told him he didn't have cancer, but just an infection and sent him home with antibiotics.  He kept getting sicker and sicker and went down to just over 100 pounds.  When VA refused to see him again, he saw a doctor outside of the VA and had more tests and this 2nd biopsy that said told us it is cancer.  Now the VA will not pay for any of his treatment because he went outside the VA hospital for diagnosis...we are working on some other options though.

I guess I just needed to get all of this off my chest and prepare me for writing once again.  It feels like I've been away for so long!!!

I do have something adoption related to another post...