Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1st grader

Love love love having a 1st grader. I love how they write. And Cannon's drawings have become so much more detailed.
This weekend, this happened in our front yard. Ryan came in and got us to witness "my kide wos yalen at the skrl." Translation: My kitty was yelling at the squirrel.

Indeed, the cat was on the driveway and a squirrel was in the tree. The squirrel was saying "tik tik" and the cat was meowing up at the squirrel. Then Cannon says "I am in my boots." He was in fact in socks.

I love that he remember this fun unexpected part of our Sunday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

both good and bad news

Well, the news has spread like wild fire thanks to the internet, bloggy friends and facebook.

This is the scoop:
Rwanda is currently suspending adoptions. The country has decided to become a part of The Hague Convention. The Hague Convention helps protect adopted children from any kind of trafficking as well as other things. This is ultimately a wonderful thing for Rwanda and the children that will be adopted. The timing just isn't so great for some of us. So this means, if you don't have a dossier in country by August 31 then you won't be able to adopt any time soon. Read more here...

The thing about this is, is that there is no way to know how long this may take. It may be a year, it may be several years, it may just be months. I was told that it took the United States 7 years to become a Hague Convention signatory. I have googled this stuff and really found no answers on how long it has taken other countries.

So what does this mean for the Smith family? We were planning on starting adoption #2 late this fall (from Rwanda). After being inside those turquoise gates and seeing the things that we saw, Ryan and I both knew that we would be back.

Right now it seems that God has other plans. I was a little upset with Him yesterday. We had our plan, I had a timeline. I knew what was going to happen and when. Then just like that, *poof*, all of it was gone. No plan, no timelines, nothing. If you know me, you know that I don't do well with the unknown. I do well with plans, guides, instructions, checklists. These things make me happy.

So now, Ryan and I are praying about and discussing what will be our next step. We both agree that there will be a second adoption. We both agree that a Cannon needs a little brother. I have been doing research on domestic adoptions. Did you know that African American boys are the least likely to be adopted. So maybe this is His plan after all. Maybe we are to experience an international as well as a domestic adoption. There are hundreds of thousands of children in foster care that may never be adopted or have a family.

So I ask that you pray for us during these next few months as we see where God leads us. We ultimately want for His will to be done, regardless of what we think is our plan. This will of course test my patience as well as my emotions but it will NOT test my faith. He is and always will be in control. He has the answers and will reveal them to me in His own way on His own time.





Tuesday, August 24, 2010

years gone by

2008

2009

2010
wow...both of my children sprouted necks after the 2008 school year! ah, the memories.

the traditional back to school picture...

Clearly we will have to redo the morning pictures. This time, I will use the real camera instead of the iphone, both for the clarity and the quickness of the shutter. My youngest sure doesn't hold her smile for long :).



Sunday, August 22, 2010

What to do

When I read blogs like Katie's , a sense of worthlessness washes over me. I read what this young twenty something is doing in Africa and I feel that I am not doing enough. I see how she feeds and ministers to hundreds of people every week, and the most people I encounter is at the carpool lane or Walmart.

A good friend asked me what I do with all of the emotions that come with witnessing the orphanages in Rwanda and Mexico and then seeing the shrunken bodies of the sick and the hungry. It is a hard reality to swallow, every. day. As I sit in my comfortable life, these memories and images shock me back to their reality. Then to my reality that I am not doing enough. To my reality of what should I be doing.

I know that God has me here for a reason. He chose this place to be my home (for now) and He wants to use me. Some ways have been evident to me (our sweet little ornery Grace) and some ways I am still trying to figure out (daily life). I pray a lot as I see faces on the computer screen and as dreams take me back to the turquoise blue gates. There are days were I feel confident in my faith and in my actions, that I am doing what He wants me to do. Then there are days when I feel broken and useless.

I have a saying above our living room entry way. It is a reminder to me whenever I read it that He is in control and that He has a plan. I just have to let Him use me and be open to whatever it is He wants me to do, whether it be here or across the ocean.

Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.

I really believe that God will take Ryan and I to the mission fields permanently at some point in our lives. I don't think it will be soon but when our children are grown. I do feel a calling to that life which is a very strange place for me to be. My pew sitter upbringing doesn't understand that "GO" mentality. Thank goodness He has changed me so in the last several years. I do feel blessed to have had my eyes opened to this life.

Until then though, I continue to pray daily of how God can use me. How I can be a tool for Him today. How I can be His hands and feet today. It is a struggle but I feel blessed to wrestle with it every day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just in case you were getting comfortable

Go here: www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com

Read the post. Pray for Katie, for her ministry and for the souls that she touches.

Go.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can you....

hear it? The sweet hum of the pencil sharpener. The teeth zipping up the side of the backpack. The gentle rush of children running out to recess. School starts for us in just 12 days. 12 days until we get our routine back.

Me and my sweet little children were made for routine. We don't enjoy spur of the moment or a day full of nothing. We thrive on checklists and to do lists. We are planners and live for structure. These apples did not fall far from the mama tree.

Fall brings us (me) my sanity back.

This fall will be like no other. This fall will be busy and crazy and fun. This fall will push me to my limits. God has a plan for this fall. Can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mexico

Ryan and Kaylee are headed down to Mexico for a few days. Part of our heart is in Piedra Angular, a Christian community, that is down just over the border from Eagle Pass, TX. Crossroads Missions helped establish this community almost 10 years ago. Ryan has visited probably 9 times in the last 3 years. He is also on the board of directors for Crossroads. There are many people that we love in Mexico and they have Coca Light (which is my favorite thing in the whole food world, well besides ice cream and cookies and brownies and...)! The whole fam would be going except our little Rwanda darling can't travel outside of the US just yet.
Crossroads Missions works in Piedras as well as New Orleans and Kentucky. This is a wonderful organization that helps regular folks both be missionaries and to be loved on. You get a group of people to the mission location then they have a mission trip planned for you. For Mexico in particular, each person will spend time doing construction, loving on orphans, feeding the poor at a railroad track community, and providing meals for families at a hospital. No experience is necessary AND any age can go. The experience is amazing and it changes almost everyone that crosses past their gate. You get a different perspective on life and what God wants you to do. You serve the poorest of the poor and you get to love on them. They teach you about humility and faith. The teach you about family and about God.

If you are interested in a mission trip, please visit their site. It is very affordable and the amount of work you get done is unbelievable. God is ever present and you feel him with every breath. It is an amazing place.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Shoes

G in her sister's old recital costume.

Grace has a pair of sandals that I got for her in March. When I bought the shoes, they were really too big. I thought, well, she will grow into them this summer. As of August 6, these sandals are almost too small. Her toes reach the edge as her heal is on the end. Not believing this, I measured, and her foot has grown almost an inch in 5 months. Wow!

The first few months we had Grace home she didn't grow very much. She stayed at 31 pounds from December until June. Her belly did go down from huge to just a regular toddler tummy over this time. But how summer has caused her to sprout! She has gained several pounds, has outgrown all of her 3t clothing, and has definitely grown in height! Maybe it is all the swimming that she has been doing!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Adoption is Hard

This is an excerpt from Kisses from Katie, a ministry that Ryan and I keep up with, pray for and support. This is an amazing young woman who is living in Uganda. She has adopted 14 children and is only in her early 20's. To read more about her ministry and support her, go here: www.amazima.org. She tells the truth about adoption...

In an effort to be real, I want to tell you. Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. Adoption is also HARD and painful. Adoption of older children is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the GOSPEL in my living room. And some times, it just stinks.

As a parent, it stinks to not know when your daughter took her first steps or what her first word was or what she looked like in Kindergarten. It stinks not to know where she slept and whose shoulder she cried on and what the scar on her eyebrow is from.

As a child, it stinks to have your mom be a different color than you because, inevitably, people are going to ask why. It stinks that your Mom wasn’t there for all the times you had no dinner and all the times you were sick and all the times you needed help with your homework. It stinks when you have to make up your birthday. It skinks when you can’t understand the concept of being a family forever because your first family wasn’t forever.

And every single day, it is worth it. Because ADOPTION IS GOD’S HEART. He sets the lonely in families. Adoption is the reason that I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day, it is not what I am doing to “help these poor kids out.” I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. I adopt because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for HIS sake will find it.

Some days, my friends, it is not easy. Today, it is not easy. The HURT in my daughters’ hearts is big and real and as their mother, I want to fix it and know that I CAN’T. So I lay it at the feet of my Father and rejoice to know that if we are children, then we are heirs - of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings - in order that we may also share in His glory. And I call out to the Holy Spirit knowing that He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for us.

A sweet friend pointed me yesterday to Genesis Chapter 33. Esau and Jacob are meeting for the first time in a long time. As Jacob approaches Esau, with his many children following close behind, Esau asks, “ And who are these with you?”

Jacob’s reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”

We get all the questions. “Why do you do it?” “Why so many?” “How in the world…” “Why these specific girls?” “Why the number 14?” “Do you think its ok to adopt as a single Mother? Don’t they need a father too?” “Do you think they will have issues since you are not the same race?” We also get the compliments. “I don’t know how you do it!” “Good job!” “You must be so responsible!” “Your girls must be so well behaved.” We get crazy stares and huge smiles and every look inbetween.

Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is hard. Adoption is the Gospel of Christ and the promise of God’s love and redemption lived out in our lives. So I ask for your prayers. Prayers for understanding and peace and trust and the power of God that is more than all I can ask or imagine. And to the questions and the comments and the compliments, this is my reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”