Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Be Still

I've never been really good at that. Being still. Oh don't get me wrong. I can veg with the best of them. Blanket, check. Jammies, check. Snack, check. Movie, check. :) Lance and I "talk" almost every Saturday that we don't have anything on the schedule. He wants to get busy doing some kind of work at the farm, and I want to sit on the couch and not have to be on the go. It always ends in a compromise and a discussion again of our expectations of our "days off."

I love to sit and watch a movie or read a book or play a game with the kids. But that's not the kind of still that I'm talking about. "Be still and know that I am your God." Psalm 46:10 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

Sitting back and letting God fight for me is one of the hardest things I struggle with in life. I am a doer. Definitely a take-charge kind of person. Just sitting back and doing nothing goes against every grain in my being. And I know. I can read your mind right now. "Being still doesn't mean that we do nothing." I get that. I really do. But when it comes right down to it, do I trust God to do it the right way. I know that I can do it, whatever it is, better.

Our adoption journey has almost broken me of that mentality. My first instinct is still to jump first, think later. But more times than not lately, it has just been my initial thought. Then my actions line up with God's will and I put the brakes on and trust Him to handle whatever the situation is. It is sooooo hard. I don't think it ever won't be sooooo hard.

There were several events in mine and Lance's early years that brought us to a crossroads where we either had to be still and trust that God was going to fight for us, or take matters into our hands. It has never been easy for me to give up control. But all of those events added up don't begin to equal all the events of the past 4 years of our adoption journey that have challenged my instinct to fight.

When you answer the call to international adoption, you give up all control. There is absolutely NO parts in the process in which you have control. You are constantly at someone else's mercy. From the US government to schedule times for you to get fingerprinted, to adoption agencies scheduling home studies, to translators being able to work you in to translate your dossier, to the Haitian social services and the black hole that that is, to the orphanage telling you when you can come visit your child, to the Haitian courts legally declaring your child is yours, back to the US government issuing VISAs and passports. Let me assure you; that is an abbreviated list.

We adoptive parents often question, why? Why, God, is it taking so long? Why, God, is our child still in an orphanage? Why, God, did he have another birthday without us? So many questions that seemingly never get answered. But God has taught me so much through the questions. Every step we have gone through, God has fought for us. And we have learned to trust Him and His timing. I have heard all of my Christian life that "God's timing is not our timing." Such a trite saying at times, but oh so true. And knowing that heavenly timelines are not earthly timelines makes it easier to wait on the Lord. Note I said easier, not easy.

I'm thankful for all the questions, and for a God who allows me to ask them. It is those questions that have grown my faith and caused me be content to just "be still." Well, that and seeing God's hand. More on that in my next post. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meeting our SON!

I want to tell you ALL about Welly! But I don't know if I'll be able to write everything down. :) So many feelings, so many moments, so much to tell about him! When we walked into the room to meet him, emotions were running high for all of us. There are two amazing women that run the house where all the toddlers and big kids live at our orphanage. I wish we had been able to spend more time getting to know them. They both were in the room when we walked in. Molly was the one who took the amazing pictures, and Joyce had our video camera and videoed our meeting. I think they both were as excited and nervous as Welly, Lance, and I.

As you can tell from the pictures in my previous post, Welly was grinning from ear to ear when we walked into the room. He has waited for this day for a very long time as well. He is the oldest child at the orphanage. He has been there for almost 4 years. In a couple days, I will blog about that. It is so much fun when God lets you look back and see His hand and where He was at work and you didn't know it at the time. Sometimes we get to see His hand immediately and other times, it's years later when He lets us in on what He had been up to. :) And  there are other times that we never get to see. The key is to be content in all three of those circumstances.

Welly has been waiting for a family for a long time and for him to be able to hug his Momma and Daddy was an incredible moment in all of our lives. It was so cute how shy he was at first. All he could do was grin. And he is not a shy person! Just trying to take it all in was overwhelming. For us and him. Molly and Joyce gave us hugs and left us alone with him. Joyce brought us something to drink and checked on us periodically, but for the most part it was just us and him for the entire day. :)

We spent the first couple hours just looking at pictures and videos from home. I took video of different parts of home so he could try and get a feel for what HOME looked like. He loved it! The kids had taken video of the house and their rooms for him. He loved seeing them talk to him.

My mom had sent 2 baseballs for him, so when we were done looking at all the pics, we went outside to play catch. The moment did not escape me. He was playing catch with his Dad. Think about that. He's never had a dad. And now he has the most amazing Daddy ever. And he was playing catch with him. God sustained me that day. After the initial tears when I held him the first time, I was able to keep my emotions in check. The only way that happened was by the grace of God.

He also learned how to play his Daddy's iPhone. He was a natural! Ha!

They have a basketball goal at the Toddler house. Welly loves basketball. His eyes got huge when I told him that I played basketball. He grabbed a ball and we played a game! It's been years, but I was on fire! Ha! He was SHOCKED! :) It was so cute! He said, "You're good!" He beat me, and that's when I heard the most beautiful words. He yelled at Joyce while she was walking by, "I beat my Momma in basketball!" Once again, I held the tears at bay. :)

We stayed at a guest house that the orphanage has. The best part is that is is just 2 houses up from Welly. We had to leave at lunch so he could eat with all the other kids. We had lunch at the guest house. We only were separated for an hour. Then we were able to go back and spend the rest of the day with him.

We spent the afternoon playing Yahtzee. (Which he loved.) And then Lance spent time going through a Boy Scout handbook with him. He was enthralled. He looked at it backwards and forwards. Literally! He and Lance went through it page by page. He can't wait to start Boy Scouts when he gets home. :)

Like I said. He has an amazing Daddy. Welly loves to learn. And he loves to be outside. He couldn't have a better Daddy for that. Lance was pulled out his compass and taught him how to read it and showed him which way North was so he could know which direction we all were at home.

I think one of the things that has amazed me most about our adoption journey is how God knit Welly together in his bio mom's womb, knowing he would be a part of our family, and how much his personality is like Luke's. We are continually humbled each and every time we get an update about Welly. Our orphanage is AMAZING, and they send us an update at the end of each month with pictures and a little bit more info on Welly and what he's been up to that month. Each and every time we read it we marvel at the fact that you could take out Welly and replace it with Luke and you wouldn't know it was a different person. God knew they were going to be brothers and gave them very similar personalities and interests. I can not WAIT to see what kind of trouble those two will get into! Ha!

I have to admit something. I have always rolled my eyes when adoptive parents make comments about how their adoptive child has their eyes, or their daddy's nose, or grandma's smile. I know they are so in love with their child and are looking for similarities. And now, I am turning into one of them. But please bear with me. I swear to you. He has his Daddy's feet!! Haha!

Tell me I'm lying! Lol!
Our second day was spent going to the American Embassy and the Haitian courts to file our paper work. It was a loooong day. Thankfully we had another couple who is adopting with us. It made the time pass so much more quickly!

We only got to spend a couple hours with Welly that day. He was so anxious for us to get back. He cracked me up, because he was always trying to sneak up behind me and scare me. He got me once, but I got him back! Ha! When we were walking into the building from courts, I had rounded a corner and hear Lance behind me talking to Welly. I flattened up against the wall and waited for him to come around the corner. I jumped out and yelled and he screamed and fell to the floor laughing! It was so much fun just being silly with him and seeing how much he is going to fit into this crazy family of ours!

He did find time that day to play on Daddy's iPhone again. :) He really likes Waterslide. It was pure joy to see his face light up when Lance told him we would take him to ride a real waterslide. He will not know what to think when he walks into White Water!

And his sense of humor astounds me! Joyce and I have similar personalities. She is very funny and teases the kids really hard. She and Welly have a special bond, so he really likes to tease with her and play. When got to spend the entire day with him Thursday. When we got there, I saw his shirt and started laughing. When I commented about it, he smiled huge and said "It's bacon!" The fact that he understood that kind of humor made my heart smile.

You might be wondering. And I haven't said anything about it. But his English is perfect. There is no language barrier. He speaks English fluently. He even knew things that I would have never dreamed he would know. Lance was showing him pictures of a Boy Scout campout that he and Luke had been on. When he saw a picture of a snake they saw, he said, "that's a rattlesnake." I don't know how he knew because you couldn't see the rattles. And when he was looking through the Boy Scout handbook, he saw a picture of a skunk. He called it by name and when Lance asked him if he knew what it did, he said, "yes, they spray." He's a very bright boy!

He did get the chance to talk to his brother and sisters on Wed. It was another moment that I will never forget. The girls were beside themselves, and I have never heard Luke so excited in his life. We called them again Thursday and also talked to all the grandparents and a couple friends. We joked with him that he is the most famous Haitian in Arkansas!

When we walked back to the house after talking to the kids on the phone outside the gate (we got wifi from the guest house and could call for free). we saw some bags of rice and beans piled up against a wall. We had to get a picture of him with the rice.

That rice came from Stuttgart, Arkansas. I spent the first 11 years of my life 20 minutes from Stuttgart. He thought it was so cool he ate Arkansas rice every day!

And now is when it got hard. We had to say goodbye. He got really quiet when he realized it was time. He actually tried to just ignore the whole thing. He went to the bathroom and then to his room. Joyce called him back to the room we were in and we said our goodbyes. It's not a surprise that it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. I hugged him tight and told him the next time I saw him, it was to bring him HOME!

So here we are. Prayerfully waiting to move through the courts and be granted his VISA and passport so we can go get him and bring him home where he belongs. The average wait is 6 months. We are praying for God to move mountains and get him home much sooner. It is so hard be sitting in my home with my family knowing my son is in another country waiting for me to come get him. So I ask for your prayers. For us and for him. Especially for his heart. He is an amazingly bright young man with a depth to him that is astounding. He "gets it" all. And he knows what he is missing and what is waiting for him. We just want him home to begin his life with a family that loves him like no other.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Where Do I start???

Yes, I'm back again! Blogging after a VERY long hiatus. Life got really, really crazy the past year. That will have to be a few posts in explaining. So much has transpired. There is no way, in one post, I can even begin to catch everyone up. But there is an impetus that has pushed me into the blogging world again. And it's an amazing one!

Introducing Rilinxe (pronounced way-LEE) Faddis! His nickname is Welly.

This is the first pic of us with our son! We went to Haiti last week to meet him and file our paperwork in the American Embassy and Haitian courts. There are no words, or at least I am not eloquent enough to come up with any, that describe that moment when we saw him in person for the very first time and hugged him. Simply amazing. It's like all the pieces of my heart were finally in place.

It had been such a long, long journey up to that moment. And we still have a little ways to go before he is home where he belongs. But we have reached a huge hurdle and crossed it and I am praising the Lord for that!

Our journey started almost 4 years ago. Most of you know that Lance was on ground 9 days after the earthquake happened Jan 2010. That was the event that God used to tell us that we had a son in Haiti. We'd known since before we were married that He had called us to adoption. We just didn't know when it would happen.  When I went to Haiti with Lance in May of 2010, we spent time talking to pastors at orphanages about adoption; looking for the boy that God had picked out for our family. Then again in November of 2010. Every time we left an orphanage, we were discouraged because "he" wasn't there. Lance told me "He's not there. There's not a boy in there I can't walk away from. If Luke were there, I wouldn't be able to walk away from him." I was looking so hard and was trying to force something. I had to trust my husband and follow him and trust that God would lead us to "him."

Fast forward to March of this year. We had completed our dossier (fancy name for paperwork/file) and it had been in Haiti 5 months; since October the year before. I was getting discouraged and then we got an email from our adoption agency with a list of "waiting children." Waiting children are hard to adopt children. Most have physical or mental delays, but some are one the list only because of their age. I opened the email and there Welly was. I looked at his picture, read his bio, and I knew. I knew he was my son.

I showed the email to Lance that night and tears came to his eyes. He looked at me and said, "That's what I knew he would look like." I stand amazed that God had put his face in our hearts and we recognized him as our son! Over all of the other orphans we had seen.  God is GOOD!

Long story short, we contacted our agency, they called our orphanage, and we were officially matched with Welly on Spring Break. Then our dossier was submitted to the Haitian Social Services in May. I'm going to blog another post on the process we've been through with that. And all the ways we have seen God's hand in this long, long, process. I want to write it all down 1) so I don't forget the details, and 2) so Welly can read it and know how hard we wanted him, searched for him, waited for him and loved him. Before we ever knew him.

But for this post, I have to share the pictures of our meeting him for the first time. It. Was. Incredible.

We arrived in Haiti 2 days before we went to the orphanage. We wanted to spend some time with some of the guys we had worked with on our previous trips to Haiti. And also to have a little R&R. We came off of a very stressful week before we left. Sara's birthday, party, baking pies and delivering food for our church Thanksgiving meal, my grandfather's death and funeral and packing all 6 of us for a week. We needed a mental break. We really enjoyed our 2 days sightseeing some of Haiti we hadn't seen and doing some shopping. Then we had dinner with our friends at our resort. It was a blessed time. I'll write more about that, too, at a different time. :)

Tuesday morning we woke up with butterflies in our stomachs. The day for which we had longed and waited was here! We were going to meet our son!!! Our friend Gelin came and got us at the hotel and took us to the orphanage. We were a bundle of nerves!

When we got there, I knew that they would take us right to him. There really wouldn't be anytime to gather our thoughts. And I'm kinda glad. I think I would have been nothing but nerves knowing he was in a room waiting to meet us and I couldn't hug him yet. :)

This is one of my favorite pictures of that day...

He was looking at us arriving. We were setting down our bags and then we went in the house and up the stairs to meet him. :)

And here's what happened next...

I will never forget stopping at the top of the steps; right outside of the room he was in. I turned and looked and Lance and said, "This is it." We had been waiting for that minute for a very, very long time. You don't always get the opportunity in life to stop and soak in a moment that your life is going to change. We had that opportunity. We knew that the moment we stepped through that door, our lives would never be the same. It was surreal.

I'll end it with that for today. Tomorrow, I'll share about out time with him and the amazingness that it was!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Moving' On Up!

Luke had ATA graduation tonight. He's now a purple belt. I know that means nothing to its people, but he's over half way to being a black belt! That represents a lot of hard work. We are so proud of him. He participated in his first tournament a couple weeks ago and now that he's moving higher in his belts, we will probably enter him in a few more tournaments. Here he is with Mr O'Conner. We LOVE Mr. O'Conner!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl(ing) ???

Our day consisted of all kinds of bowling today. :) On our way home from church, Emma piped up from the back seat and said, "Momma, I don't want anyone to help me bowl." Pretty random comment, and all of a sudden I yelled, "Oh my gosh! Micah's party!"

We were invited a couple weeks ago to a Super Bowl party at some friends house. We've been planning on what to take and needing to go to the grocery store and I'd totally forgotten our friends' son's birthday party at the bowling alley. 

What threw me was Emma saying, "Micah's party??" She didn't know Micah's party was today and that we were going bowling. Which confused me with regards to the bowling comment. ??? 

The kids had a blast at the party and all of them asked to go bowling again. Love the blurry action shots! Ha! And Emma's form was amazing!!!

After the party, we ran to the grocery store to grab supplies for the Super Bowl Party we were invited to. We made our snacks and were on our way to the party. That's when Emma's bowling comment from earlier in the day made sense. I heard Luke say, "Emma, we're not going bowling again." And she very loudly and sternly said, "We are too, Luke! We are going to the Super Bowl party!" Hahahaha! Bless her heart. She had no frame of reference for a Super Bowl party! :) LOVE that girl!

Here are some highlights from the Super Bowl party...

Luke had the quote of the night. As Beyonce came on for the halftime show..."I don't get stuff like this." Ha! Bless his heart. So proud of him. 

Some friends of ours have adopted a sweet baby boy. His name is Parke Henry. He was born with several severe heart defects and wasn't expected to live but a few hours after birth. He is on day 24! Each day is a miracle and his Momma and Daddy (and the rest of us) are thankful for every day he has. You can read more about Parke on his Momma's blog here. Please be praying for sweet Parke and his family.

The girl's have prayed for Parke every. single. night. It has blessed this Momma's heart to see the love these girls have for this sweet boy they haven't been around much at all. They got to hold Parke for the first time tonight. So precious.

And the highlight of the night...

Lance's Mercy commercial was on during the Super Bowl! You should have heard up hoopin' and hollerin'! Haha!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


The revamped chore chart is AMAZING!!! I think I have stumbled upon the right system for our family! It has worked this week like a dream.

I'm still doing some tweaking and probably will for a few more days. But overall, I think I was right on the money with dollar amounts, chores, and motivation. I was right in thinking that there would be a little competition factor in wanting to earn the most money each week. And just as I'm typing that, I just had an epiphany to encourage more chores getting done. Ha! I'm going to try giving a bonus to the child who earns the most money at the end of the week. Sweet! That will motivate my oldest into doing more. :)

This is the chore chart after 5 days...

You see who isn't so fired up about the chart. He doesn't seem to grasp the idea that the 25 cents and 50 cents adds up each week. Maybe the bonus will motivate him!

Here is my FOUR year old...

Tonight alone she earned $1.25! She did 4 different chores. It has been such a help to have the table cleared after meals, the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, the bathroom cleaned. It is worth every penny I am paying the kids!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chore Chart

We have had a chore chart (multiple variances of chore charts) for a while now. It starts out great for a couple weeks. But then the kids get tired of it, I forget to pay them, they don't like the chores they are assigned, I have to nag them to do chores, etc., etc., etc.

I don't remember where I first saw my new approach, but I've seen it a few times online lately. I'm giving the kids control of the chores they do. I used our existing magnet board (that I painstakingly spent hours gridding out!) OK, not hours, but it took a long time. :)

I made up chores and gave them corresponding dollar amounts. I printed them out on magnet sheets, cut them out and stuck them on the laundry room door. 

Here's what it looks like...

Emma has already earned 75 cents, Sara 50 cents, and Hope $1.25!! Luke was busy doing a Scout project so he didn't have the opportunity to do any chores.

I think this is going to work so much better. If the kids want to earn money, they determine how much they earn! It's that simple. So much better than nagging them to do chores only to give them a "smiley face" that means nothing to them. 

They are in charge of their own destiny! And one thing I noticed tonight. It's going to instill a little friendly competition between the kids. Sara's mouth dropped when she saw Hope earned $1.25 tonight. They are going to be trying to beat each other to do the chores so they can get the money! Win for everyone!