Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adoption as a ministry--and some resources

I know there are many different roads that bring various people to adoption. For us, adoption provided a way to have the children I so dearly wanted. To me it was a win-win situation: children were blessed with a family and families were blessed with children. And I still believe this. However, over the last several months I have also begun to see adoption as ministry--actually as missions. What better way to win someone for Jesus than to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as provided in a Christian home.

I am passionate about adoption. In fact, I really believe God has called me to be involved in some kind of adoption-promotion ministry

I have been repeatedly encouraged in my calling and blessed by emails from a man named Gerald Clark who is involved with an organization called Home for Good Foundation.

I'd like to share some of the resources I've received from him.

First, here's the link to the Home for Good Foundation website where on the left hand side you can find links to a free downloadable Adoption Bible Study and Adoption Ministry Manual:

Secondly, I was so impressed with a resolution passed by the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2009 entitled "On Adoption and Orphan Care" that I wanted to share it here. I am not part of the Southern Baptist denomination but I can just imagine the huge positive impact this can have on the lives of the orphaned and abandoned children of our planet. What if every Christian denomination adopted such a stance!

Next, I just received this link to a You Tube video by a Rev John Piper called "Adoption is Greater than the Universe"

And finally while viewing the above video, I saw a powerful, touching adoption video called "They Chose Me"

I hope you are blessed by some or all of these.

Family Pictures from my parents' 50th anniversary

These are pictures from my parents' 50th wedding anniversary held on July 25, 2009. What a blessed heritage I have had.
Here is our whole family that was able to attend: my parents, my brother's family and our family.
Here are my parents with our family: in back, Kevin holding Caleb, Dad, Mom, me (Joy) holding Steven; in front, Billy, Scheri, James and Teresa

Here are my parents with their grandchildren. One granddaughter and spouse and two great-grandchildren were unable to attend.

Another shot: Caleb (left front) was so taken with his boutonniere, he was trying to show it to the photographer :)

Caleb on the phone

Steven, probably a bit over-whelmed with all the people

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ice Cream Lovers

Today after church we headed for Arctic Circle. Kevin and the big kids took their food with them; Caleb, Steven and I ate in the restaurant. Kevin had a building project going over at a friend's house near Filer--and the kids were hoping for close contact with said friend's horses (which they got.)

After the little boys ate and played on the slides they were treated to small complimentary vanilla cones. Caleb made his disappear pretty pronto. Steven took tiny little licks with the tip of his tongue and eventually cleaned the cone out quite well though he wouldn't bite the now-soggy cone itself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Unforgetable Day

In the 7 weeks since Steven, Teresa and I have been home from Ukraine we have had a schedule unlike I have had since Billy, Teresa and James were little. Billy has been getting developmental therapy and OT. Scheri has restarted counselling for attachment issues and has now begun volleyball practice. James has been in OT and speech as well as a reading program put on by the Southern Idaho Learning Center. Caleb is in speech and OT and Steven in OT, PT and speech. Then of course, there are the usual rounds of getting everyone seen by the dentist and having all the well-child checks done besides the occasional doctor visit for actual sickness. There's also Youth group on Wednesday nights, some church movie nights and other youth activities, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School classes to teach weekly, Children's church that Kevin and I are responsible for once monthly. My Daily Planner is quite impressive and I would be absolutely sunk if I should chance to lose it.

Thursday August 20 was a day you could tell in advance was going to be a killer. It started off at 9:00 am at the dentist office in Twin Falls where originally just Scheri and Teresa were scheduled for cleaning and x-rays. (so Scheri missed her volley ball practice) As it turned out however, the dentist had extra time and was able to see Caleb and Steven as well besides doing fillings on Billy and Scheri. These 5-6 items were toggled with the 5 therapy appointments the 4 boys had beginning at 10:00 am. The dentist and Primary Therapy are just a couple short blocks apart but I was kept pretty busy trying to lend moral support to everyone seeing the dentist and getting the right persons over to therapy at the right time while filling out 3 or 4 pages of paperwork for each of the boys for therapy plus 'new patient' paperwork for Steven at the dentist's. I think we were done in the part of town around 11:30 or 11:45. We got lunch and drove back toward Hansen where Billy was supposed to meet up with his develop0mental tech at 1:00. Just before I got into our hometown I decided to check phone messages and found one from the dev. tech saying she'd had her schedule unexpectedly changed by her boss and wouldn't be working with Billy after all. Groan!! Why am I in Hansen then when I still need to be in Twin Falls! Thankfully about that time Carol who is in charge of our weekly VBS drove by. We followed her to our church and let off Scheri who has been helping so much with VBS. The rest of us drove back over to Shopko in Twin (about a 20-30 minute drive) to continue our shopping for school supplies. (Our school supply shopping the day before had been somewhat impeded by Caleb who started our stint in Shopko by dipping the tail of his shirt in the toilet and so had to continue bare-bellied and by Steven who ended our stint by an episode of runny poo poo in the drawers) We then proceeded to the Dollar Tree where we got a few last school items for James and then headed once again to Hansen for VBS from 3:30-5:45. Though I am not officially assisting with VBS, I have been asked to accompany Caleb and Steven from station to station to help provide whatever extra hands they might need. Then--can you believe--we all jumped back in the car and headed back to the ever-lovely city of Twin Falls to shop for school clothes. JC Penney's was supposedly having a 75% off sale. AND they don't have shopping carts. So I was trying to keep Caleb and Steven corralled, assist James and Billy with their selections and ooh and aah at the proper times for Scheri and Teresa. We were getting along with some degree of success when a distinctive odor began to emanate from Caleb. Sure enough there was something amiss in his britches and part way down both legs. So off we headed for the little girl's room. Fortunately I had extra pull-ups and shorts in my big purse; unfortunately, I did not have wipes. Neither did the bathroom--nor paper towels. I had that pitiful one-ply toilet paper stuff that disintegrates at the touch of moisture and I was trying earnestly to get Caleb's poopy tushy scrubbed off while over-head I hear the announcement that the store in going to be closing in x number of minutes. GREAT!! Thankfully, the cashier agreed to let us check out when I finally emerged with Caleb. I hadn't even seen many of the purchases. I just told the kids I'd go ahead and pay for them, then we'd try them on at home later and decided what to keep. (As it turned out, they selected well and we only have to exchange one pair of jeans for a larger size)


My Cousin Dan

July 25 was the last time I was able to converse with my cousin Dan. He came to my parents' wedding anniversary celebration and honestly looked horrible. When asked how he was doing he replied "not so good." Not so long thereafter he admitted himself to the hospital and was given 5 units of blood--I was told his color was better and I took it for granted that the problem was solved.

I have always been close to Dan and his twin brother Daryl, sons of my mother's only sibling. I was born on their 3rd birthday and we ate a lot of birthday meals together over the years. Even this year my parents took Dan and me out to the Mandarin House in Twin Falls for our special day. I have wonderful memories from Bellevue Bible Camp, Shoshone Easters and baseball games, Christmas leg-wrestling and family jam sessions. Dan is funny, meticulous and very musical.

Dan was born a preemie on Jan 18, 1958 and nearly died in infancy. School was not his forte; in fact, he spent some time in Special Ed. But as a kid growing up with Dan I don't think I hardly knew that. Dan had such a great sense of humor and was so musically gifted that I loved being with him. I loved hearing David, Daryl and Dan sing and play their guitars at school and at church. I remember being glad they were my cousins so I didn't have to choose which of the three I would marry :) :) Dan did a hitch in the Navy. Later, he experience kidney failure, peritoneal dialysis and finally a kidney transplant. No longer strong enough to maintain a full-time job, Dan was especially good at handyman-type odd jobs that required not speed but intricate attention to detail.

On Tuesday, August 11 we had our annual Ladies' Night Out--a night when the women of our church get together at a restaurant and just enjoy each other's company. My aunt was there and mentioned that Dan might be admitted to the hospital again that night if David (Dan's older brother) felt it necessary when he got home from work. The next morning (Wednesday) I got a call while James and Caleb were in speech that Dan was indeed in the hospital and was unresponsive. We went over to the hospital as soon as possible. Though I'd worked as a nurse for many years, I was not prepared for what I saw. 'Unresponsive' should not apply to a 51-year-old but it did. His side rails were padded due to seizures; he had oxygen, IV's, and a monitor for vital signs. At that point my Mom and Dad were the only ones at the bedside--Mom kept trying to get Dan to open his eyes to no avail. I finally had to leave so I could get lunch for the kids. That night my phone rang during Bible Study--I hurriedly silenced it, not recognizing the number, figuring it unimportant. Afterwards I remembered to listen to the message--it was Dan's sister calling from the hospital saying Dan was dying. I collected the kids and we headed back to the hospital. Dan had been moved into a private room and disconnected from everything except oxygen--according to the directives of his living will. Apparently an EEG done that evening had shown little to no brain activity. Breathing was more labored. Tons of family members and friends were assembled around the room. We stayed as long as we could. Thursday we were back at the hospital. There were beginning to be intervals between breaths. We sang songs around Dan's bedside--songs of hope in Jesus. Songs that brought tears to the eyes and comfort to the heart. We were there until 1-something but had to leave so the kids could eat prior to VBS that afternoon. About 2:35 I got a call from my brother, Mark--Dan was with Jesus. Suffice it to say I didn't make it to VBS. Friday we were at the mortuary. Monday we were at the viewing and then went over to Dan's home church in Hazelton and spent several hours choosing and practicing songs for the funeral on Tuesday. Music has been such a big part of our family over the years that we agreed it needed to play a big part in the service. I was so blessed by the amazingly large group of people who gathered to show their final respects. The pews were full, the chairs set up in the back were full, and I really think there were people standing.

Dan was known and loved by lots of people. But best of all, Dan knew and loved Jesus and Jesus knew and loved him. I don't have to wonder where Dan is now; I don't have to grasp at some wisp of hope that at the last second he somehow made his peace with God. Nope, as the old song says: "The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago" The words to the first verse go something like this:"

There was a time on earth
When in the book of heaven,
An old account was standing
For sins yet unforgiv'n
My name was at the top
With many things below
I went unto the keeper and settled long ago.
Long ago (down on my knees)
Long ago (I settled it all)
Yes the old account was settled long ago.
And my record's clear today
For he washed my sins away
When the old account was settled long ago"
I love you, Dan and as I told you the other day, standing in front of your casket, "I'll see you later."

Steven is a Citizen

Steven has received an official document from the President of the United States certifying that he is indeed a citizen of the US. Now if we can just get back his passport from the Ukrainian consulate, I can go apply for his social security number.

Church in the Park--almost

On Sunday August 16, we were scheduled to have church in the City Park but the day or so before the weather was unseasonably cool so our pastor decided we'd better have church in the sanctuary. The kids had been scheduled to sing "He Came from Heaven to Earth" and "Our God is an Awesome God" so sang in front of the congregation at church. Teresa and Scheri were doing the verses accompanied by a cassette; James (center in blue shirt), Steven and Caleb (far left front row) were part of the choir.

Playing in Rock Creek- Aug 12

Dressed for Fun--August 6

Two Very Well-behaved Boys--Aug 1

Kevin, Billy and James were at Ranger Camp; Scheri and Teresa were at Niagara Falls in the Snake River canyon with friends; so Caleb, Steven and I headed to Hollister for the final services in honor of Mrs. Peggy Hamby, mother of my friend. I wasn't sure how Caleb and Steven would do sitting quietly for that long but they did great.

All the King's Army and All the King's Men

James loves to set up his Play-mobil guys for battle on the coffee table in our living room.

Steven's evaluations

Caleb and Steven (wearing shades due to pupils being dilated for exam)
Steven in the dentist's chair--he enjoyed using the suction tip.

We have been making the rounds of doctors and appointments for Steven. He saw the pediatrician on July 14 for an initial evaluation. He had blood drawn and neck x-rays taken--both normal. The doc did hear a heart murmur. Steven had a PT evaluation done on July 23, Speech evaluation July 28, OT evaluation on July 30. He qualified for all and has been receiving services at Primary Therapy where he is working hard and loves to 'play'. On August 3 he saw Dr. Mayes, the ENT guy who discovered old drainage behind both ears. A hearing test (where you sit in the sound booth and look for response to various stimuli) showed decreased hearing. Steven is scheduled for tubes on Sept 4 in same-day surgery. On August 17, Steven saw the ophthalmologist who discovered his vision is normal for his age. On August 20, Steven climbed up in the dentist chair for the first time, got x-rays and cleaning and has no cavities. And on the 21st the poor guy had to get 3 shots--he was actually due for 5 but I just couldn't bear that many in one whack so we'll do the final two next week when Caleb gets his well-child check and shots for school.

My parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary--July 25

Scheri is back from her first year at Youth Camp. It was held at the ISU Campus in Pocatello.
Trying to get pictures of Steven and Caleb before heading down to the church for Mom and Dad's celebration. We got much more official family pictures taken prior to the celebration and I hope to post them as soon as the disc is available--they are good so don't miss out :) :) :)

Below are Scheri and Billy

Here are James and Billy. I was so proud of my kids.

Here's James by himself

Here are our two 13-year-olds--Teresa and Scheri--looking lovely. They helped serve the nuts and mints at the reception

Billy wanted to make sure everyone saw his new construction truck with it's lift extended. He got this for a smile and $2 (I think) at a neighborhood yard sale

Here's the cake table down at the church. Decorations were yellow and lavender which were Mom and Dad's original wedding colors in addition to gold in honor of the 50th milestone.

Pastor Bruce singing a beautiful 'love' melody in honor of my parents

My younger brother Mark (who is also a pastor) emceed the event. It was so wonderful to have so many family members and friends in attendance. Someone counted between 131 and 134 there in the Fellowship Hall. My parents have faithfully been in ministry here in Southern Idaho for 50 years (they actually 'tried out' for their first church while they were still engaged) so are loved and respected by many, many people. I would not know that this would be the last time I would ever converse with my cousin, Dan, on this earth.

Opening presents after everyone else had gone home

It was such a wonderful day. Our kids were incredibly well-behaved. My parents, Mark's family (except Jessica) and our family all headed to Gerties in Twin Falls afterwards just to finish it off.