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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Time!







We had a fun Christmas. My brother and his wife arrived Saturday night. They found out when they arrived in Budapest that the train workers were on strike and the trains weren't running. Fortunately, there are 22 million Romanians in the country and about that many outside the country working and so many of those 22 million come home for Christmas. Go and Pam couldn't find a bus they could get on, they were all full so my brother started looking for cars with Romanian tags and found a bunch so they hithced a ride into Romania and caught a train from Arad to Lugoj and arrived at midnight. It was bumper to bumper traffic from Budapest to the Romanian border.

Sunday night, 12/21, we had our Christmas banquet at church. Tuesday we had Zach's 10th birthday and that night we went caroling. We went to about 12 or so houses and each houses pours you a cup of soda and forces you to eat sweets. By the time you arrive at the 4th house you are full of sweets but people get upset and don't understand why you can't eat the sweets they set out before you. It started snowing a little while we were caroling.

Christmas Eve we woke up and had french toast and bacon for breakfast. Go and Pam fixed it for us. Then we had our Christmas dinner that evening. That morning my oven decided not to turn on but after lots of prayer and a couple hours later it came on so we could cook Christmas dinner. Oh, by the way, we were eagerly awaiting a box from my mom with some Christmas goodies in it and my gift for Go and Pam. We got the package slip in the mail on Christmas Eve morning and Go and Baron went to the post office in Timisoara to get the box...we had our Christmas M & M's just in time for a Christmas Eve movie!

We woke up Christmas morning to a pretty snow! The kids opened their stockings and then they longingly looked at all the gifts under the tree but we had to get ready for church. In Romania everyone goes to church on Christmas morning. So, they pain stakingly sat through a service and then had to come home and change their clothes and go out and bring up some wood before digging into the presents. They really had a great time though looking at what each other got and they were very patient while waiting for their turn to open a gift...well they were kind of patient. We had left overs that day and just relaxed and enjoyed the day. That evening we had a birthday cake for Jesus and each person lit a candle and said what Jesus had done for them this year. It was a special time and we really enjoyed it.

Today Go and Pam left. Her mom's package still hadn't arrived but we will send it on to them and it will be a nice surprise. The only disappointment was that the stuff didn't come in time to make gingerbread houses but that's ok...we'll make them next year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Week!

Christmas always comes and goes so fast. I thought that this year I would really relax and enjoy and think about the season more. My brother and his wife arrived on Saturday. I got an email from them Saturday afternoon telling me they couldn't come by train as originally planned due to a train workers strike in Hungary. Unfortunately all the busses were full too. Fortunatley this time of year many of the 20 million Romanians that live and work outside of the country are making their way back home for Christmas so my brother went looking for cars with Romanian tags and found a ride in :-). They arrived at midnight on the 20th of December.
The 20th of December was the 19th anniversary of the revolution that took place here in Romania. I watched a little documentary about it and was amazed at the "court room" that Ceaucescu and his wife were tried in. It seemed so primitive. The trial lasted 2 hours and they were condemned to death and taken out with their hands tied behind their backs and shot to death. It just amazes me the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years in this country but also how many things really remained the same.
Something I am doing that I don't normally do...staying up late. The house is so quiet I just can't help but sit here and enjoy the tree lights. I enjoyed adult conversation with my brother and his wife this evening. It is good to get to know my sister in law. The only time I met her was at their wedding so I really didn't get to know her because it was a busy time. It is fun to see my brother so happy.

Today Baron and I went and picked up the twins and brought them home. We left at 8:30 this morning and got back home at 6:30 this evening. The twins kept asking, "When are we going to get there? OH, we are never going to get there!!" They were so excited to get home and see their brothers and meet Uncle Gogo and Aunt Pam. It was fun to walk into the kitchen and see all 4 boys come running out to greet them and hug them. It's always good to have the family all together. We are just a few weeks away from our court date. Pray for my nerves!

I look forward to celebrating Zach's 10th birthday tomorrow. It is so hard to believe it has been 10 years since we had our first baby! He actually wasn't born until the 24th but we decided to have our big Christmas dinner on the 24th and celebrate his day on the 23rd. He doesn't mind opening his presents a day early. I still remember spending Christmas in the hospital 10 years ago! What a special gift Zach has been to us.

We are still awaiting several Christmas packages in the mail. I can't usually send my brother a gift because of where he lives so this year I went all out and got a nice gift...but it hasn't arrived. I am so sad they will not have it to open on Christmas...I just pray it arrives before they leave!

Well, I really must get to bed...I have lots of baking to do tomorrow and tomorrow night we go caroling with our church...not my favorite thing to do...I'll explain later :). Good night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Baking Story

So, I decided to publish my baking story. I had seen this wonderful looking recipe at ThePioneerWoman.com and decided I was going to do this for our neighbors for Christmas. On her website it comes complete with pictures of the process. So, if you want to see how the Cinnamon Rolls are SUPPOSED to look each step of the process you can go to her website. Mine started out ok. See how pretty the pot looks on the stove?



When I got to the rolling part my butter mixtures started oozing out eveywhere, dripping on the floor and all over the counter...she had said it may ooze a little! I even put on less butter then she said too!



Well, as I always say appearance isn't everything...they may not look that delectable but they really are delicious! I made a huge mess in the process but pray that our neighbors enjoy them.



Baron and the boys delivered the hot pans along with a book about seeking God to five of our neighbors. I made a big mess in the process and actually as I sit here and type the mess remains...maybe I can get the boys to go clean it up for me. Where is the cleaning fairy when you need her?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guarding Your Heart.

It has been a busy and fun season so far. In all that is going on it is easy to let my quiet time with God slip away undone. But I have made an effort to have that time even if it is cut a little shorter then normal. So, yesterday as I was reading I was hit by something so simple and so well known that I wanted to share it. I think that by now in my Christian life this idea or concept should be well in practice but I will admit it isn't always. What touched me was a chapter in a book called, Just Like Jesus, by Max Lucado and I want to share this excerpt:

" Everyone knows you harvest what you sow. Galations 6:7, 'People harvest only what they plant.'
'Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.' Some of our hearts are trashed out. Let any riffraff knock at the door, and we throw it open. Anger shows up, and we let him in. Revenge needs a place to stay, so we have him pull up a chair. Pity wants to have a party, so we show him the kitchen. Lust rings the bell, and we change the sheets on the bed. Don't we know how to say no?

For most of us, thought management is, well, unthought of. We think about time management, weight management, personnel management, even scalp management. But what about thought management? Shouldn't we be as concerned about managing our thoughts as we are managing anything else?

We need to deny entry to many thoughts. The Holy Spirit is ready to help you manage and filter the thoughts that try to enter. He can help you guard your heart. A thought approaches, a questionable thought. Do you throw the door open and let it enter? Of course not. You 'fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ' (2 Cor. 10:5). you don't leave the door unguarded. You stand equipped with handcuffs and leg irons, ready to capture any thought not fit to enter."

I needed this simple reminder. Why do I find myself in a bad mood so often or angry...is it because life is hard? No, it is because my thoughts were not captured and brought under the authority of Christ. So many times we think life revolves around our circumstances when really as Chuck Swindoll said, "The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. This may shock you. But I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day to day basis is my choice of attitude."

So, my prayer is that I can fill my mind with Christ like thoughts so I can have a Christ like response when things go wrong...rarely does life go the way we plan it but we can make the best of a situation with our attitude!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just refuse to let that baa humbug spirit in...even though I live in Romania where nothing goes as planned! I won't let it get the best of me...I won't!! I have to keep telling that to myself otherwise I will get the baa humbug spirit. My husband, the dear man that he is, gave me some money and told me to buy myself some clothes for Christmas (I've been complaining that my closet is full of $1 gypsy market finds and that just isn't good enough :). So, I find that LandsEnd has good quality clothes and they send it directly to me. I didn't want my mom or Baron's mom paying postage on a gift for me. So, I place my order and low and behold it was here via UPS in like 7 days...that was just amazing. The problem was it was sitting in the UPS office in Timisoara for 2 days. So, I called to find out what was up. Well, she tells me I have to pay a tariff! What? A tariff, I have never in 7 years here paid a tariff on things I bought or boxes I received with new stuff in it. I asked if it was just a UPS thing she said no, its because you bought something on line from America. I explained to her that didn't make sense because I have bought stuff on line before from America but never used UPS before and never paid a tariff before. We will actually stop by the office today to pick up the box on our way out of town and argue a little more about it but I think we will end up paying the tariff...$50! Yes, it kind of put a damper on my Christmas present, but Baron told me not to worry about it, it was a gift from him and he would pay the tariff. He is so calm about things like that. I want to shout out, "It's not fair!!" Well, life isn't fair so get over it! Go with the flow. Do what you can to fight injustice but know that you can't save the world. It doesn't do any good to get all uptight about something you can't do anything about so don't waste your time (I'm talking to myself now, trying to convince myself I shouldn't get up tight).
So, as you are waiting in lines with grumpy people this season, do what you can to smile and spread some Christmas cheer and share the love and joy that Jesus gives us. Just think about the grumpy person this way, you have no idea what news they got this morning or what trials they are going through that made them that way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Precious Moments

I have wanted to write more lately but have a hard time putting into words things I experience here. Let me start by saying it is wonderful to have my friend Kendra here. She actually has gone by the nickname "Corky" ever since she moved away from Greenville after our 16th birthday. Her little girl, JaneBatson, and Nate love to play and fight and apologize to each other and then hug and start all over again. I love it!
The twins are here for a visit. I had a precious moment this morning with Gina. I was fixing her hair and she looks at me and says, "mommy, you used to live in heaven until God saw that we needed a family and so then you came down from heaven to live here and be our family." Can you say "oh my word that is the sweetest thing I have ever heard" ? Well, its the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I just love them so much and can't wait to end the chaos of visiting and get settled into real life with them. It is so chaotic to me when they are just here for a visit because they never get settled into family life. I believe they will settle in beautifully when the time comes. We await our day in court anxiously and await to see the outcome of whether or not the aunt decides to pursue them. Please pray that she decides over Christmas that she will just release them to be with the only family they have ever knonw! She has only visited them twice and she has grown children and she said she would speak to them when they come for Christmas about what they think she should do.
We will be putting up the tree tomorrow and the kids are so excited about that except Georgie isn't excited that there will not be presents tomorrow :-). Pray for Georgie that he will learn how to play with his siblings without being aggressive and combative. He has had some struggles this visit because he is just so used to being rough all the time. He is such a sweet little boy and I love the twinkle in his eye when he smiles. I need to figure out how to channel all that energy into something good!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. The Lord is good and worthy of our thanks and praise. He saved us and made us His children and that is something to sing and dance about! So, sing happy songs and leap for joy because of the inheritance you have received! He pulled us from the pit and the miserable existence we would have had trying to do it on our own and set us on the Rock! Sing, sing praises to His name.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Visit with the lawyer.

We went to Oradea and met with a lawyer. He looked at our file and listened to our story. He seems to think if she really is the aunt that she has a good chance of getting them...if she really and truly wants them. He did say it was suspicious that she showed up after never meeting them before. He said he would investigate for us. We also talked with the director of the children's home and were encouraged a little by that conversation. She seems to think the aunt isn't being really aggressive. She has only visited twice in two months and didn't show up for a visit on Saturday like she said she would. She has filed no papers as of yet and she knows another family is puruing them. We will proceed with our court date and more than likely receive custody of the twins. We will wait for about 30 days for papers to go through and then they can move in with us. We will have to call all of the family for the adoption court date and that is when it may be a problem. She or anyone else could show up and say they want them. The good thing is they would have to meet a certain standard of living before they could actually be approved to take them.
We are waiting on God who is our help and who is always good. We will trust that He will do whatever is best. We will have the twins for a visit next week.
Please continue to pray as this will likely drag out for many months to come.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What I am learning.

I will be honest and tell you I am sick to my stomach with thoughts of loosing our twins. I am trusting and claiming God's peace. These are the passages I read this morning:
Psalm 52:9 I will praise You forever, Because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.
Psalm 62: Truly my soul waits for God because my expectations are in Him alone.
Psalm 71:14 I will hope continually.
Psalm 28:7 My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Psalm 42 Why should my sould be disquieted in me, my hope is in God. He is my hope and the one who lifts up my countenance with his love.
Isaiah 40 Those who wait on the Lord: shall renew their strength, shall mount up with wings as eagles, shall run and not be weary, shall run and not faint.

Please pray that God will grant the peace to not fret and worry about the what ifs. Pray for us as we meet with a lawyer on Monday that he will be an honest one and one who will fight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Need More Prayer.

Obviously we need prayer today because it is election day in American. We need prayer as a family here in Romania. We were hit with the news a few days ago that the county where our case is got in trouble for not giving more rapid court dates. So, we had a lawyer go check on the possibility of getting us a court date sooner. This was good news and we were excited about the possibility of getting our date moved up.
Today we received bad news, the twins aunt has showed up again. This time she met the twins and told the director she has bought a place to live in their town and her husband has a job and she wants to take the twins home with her.
Please be in prayer for the twins and for us. I am leaving out a lot of information but just know we need your prayers. We will fight for them and pray and believe God wants them in our family. We feel like they are our kids and no one has the right to waltz in and take them. We just pray the law seeks out what is best for the kids.
We appreciate your prayers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Homeschoolers

I am thinking of making a curriculum switch. Any homeschoolers out there feel free to give me some input. I am using a mixture right now simply because I received a lot of free stuff but I am not happy with what I am doing. It takes a lot of planning and work. I have been looking at a Sonlight catalog and so far am impressed with what they have to offer. They have a lot of reading which I like and it is all planned out for you which I like. I think the biggest draw back is the price but education is expensive. So, I guess I would just like to hear from someone who uses Sonlight or has heard about it and can recommend it. I always start planning for next school year around this time because I have to get it ordered so it gets to my parents before they come in the spring. I would greatly appreciate any input.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Favorite Clothing Store

I finally took a few pictures of the market where I buy clothes from. They call it "Târk". I actually look through these piles of clothes laying on the ground as do many other people. This is my favorite place in Romania to get good quality clothes from at a decent price.


The quality of clothing I buy new at full price here is very poor and can't be passed down to the next boy. Then every once in a while I shop on line and have it sent here but that gets expensive too. So, this is where I do my shopping. If you ever come visit I will take you on this once in a lifetime shopping exursion!





The official notice.

Our court date is set for 8:30 a.m., Janugary 29, 2009. This court date is to just get custody of the twins then we can start the adoption process. So, I thought you would be interested to see the "official" notice that we got in the mail yesterday.

Here it is. Our whole file, the twins whole fil folded in half and tied with a string. The torn in half paper on top is the court date notice and it was in our mail box just like this, no envelope. Isn't that very official?

We will have the twins a week in November, for Christmas then Lord willing when we go in January we can bring them home quickly. We have looked through the file and it is pretty clear that all family has signed off and no family is capable of caring for them and that we are suitable to be their guardians. So, I am cautiously optomistic that this will go smoothly. But then, I remember which country I am living in and realize nothing here goes as planned or as it should so just be in prayer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Court Date News.

We have finally gotten the long awaited court date...the bad news is, it isn't until January 29, 2009! I had so hoped to have this resolved before the holidays. Pray for us and the twins.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's Up

So, what is up in the Howerton household. Well, we are in our 7th week of school. We have picked our apples. I have made 40 jars of applesauce. The church's grapes were harvested last Saturday so I am in the process of preserving the juice and making jelly.
Our file was turned into the court about 2 weeks ago and I hear it can take up to a month to actually get a court date. So, pray that we receive a court date within the next two weeks and pray that we are granted custody of the twins. It is so hard taking them back and forth we are ready to be a complete family.
My friend Kendra is preparing to come October 24th. I have known her a really long time. We were in Sunday School and youth group together and went to high school together until she moved to N.C. after our 10th grade year. Needless to say, I am excited about her coming. She will be staying with us until next summer while her husband is working in the Middle East.
We are anticipating the arrival of the Holiday Season!! My brother and his wife will be here for Christmas this year. We can't wait to start listening to Christmas music and pull out the Christmas tree. We will be patient though and not pull it out until Thanksgiving.
We will have a house full for Thanksgiving this year. Kendra's husband will be here and another couple who is coming to visit will be with us over Thanksgiving. He is an evangelist that is a member of one of our supporting churches, Calvary of Simpsonville. He is traveling to Europe and including us in his visit.
We look forward with the hope of having the twins here with us permanently for the holiday's. We not only will celebrate the birth of our Savior but the addition of the twins to our family! What a celebration we will have!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Typical School Day

Ok, so this first picture really has nothing to do with a typical school day but I thought I would throw it in for my grandma, Marvelous Marv :) Our new little dog, Buster, is not usually tolerant of the cats, but now that it is chilly outside he is allowing them to snuggle with him in his basket to keep himself warm.


Nate goes around and visits the boys as they are in school seeing if he can get them to come and do puzzles with him or entertain him. Spencer is easily distracted and doesn't like school so he is all to eager to have Nate come and join him at his desk.





I usually have one boy taking a break while 2 or working so that Nate always has someone to play with. Some boys do better then others at entertaining him.



This is Zach doing his typing class on the computer. He loves school but he hates typing.













This face pretty much sums up Spencer's feeling of school...he says it is useless and he thinks school should be outlawed. He prefers to play all day.




If only every year were as fun as kindergarten. Drew is enjoying his "work". He still has trouble pronouncing "r" but is flying through school. He is in first grade reading books and will be in first grade math by next sememster. I asked him what makes a school day fun and he said, "lots of paper work."


Waiting

The good news is our file has been placed in court. The bad news is they did not give us a court date yet. So, I choose to remain calm, cool, and collected why...because He who promised is faithful. That doesn't mean we are happy only when we get what we want. His way IS perfect and unless we trust in that fact then we will be miserable unless we are always getting our way, which of course doesn't always happen. Here is the prayer from Psalm that we must pray over and over again, especially in times of waiting: Psalm 62

Truly, my soul silently waits for you Oh God; my salvation comes from You. You only are my rock and my salvation; You are my defense; I will not be greatly moved. My soul, wait silently for You alone, Oh God, for my expectation is from You. You only are my rock and my salvation; You are my defense; I will not be moved. My salvation and my glory are in you God. You are the rock of my strength, and You are my refuge. I will trust in You at all times, Lord. I will pour out my heart before you, God for you are my refuge. Thank You, Lord, that power belongs to You. I choose to trust in You and look to You.

So, if you are in a waiting period, choose to look to God, choose to trust Him. Trusting Him means not fretting and worrying. We can throw the what ifs and if onlys out the window when we trust in God. I know that He is in control and that takes away my worries. It doesn't mean I understand everything or like everything but it does mean my heart is at peace with what God brings to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Adoption

We were really expecting to hear something the end of last week...but we didn't. We have been calling and calling for information with no answers. Finally on Thursday we called the director of the children's home to see if she knew what was up. She did, she said the person that was supposed to take our folder to court last week is on vacation and it was passed on to someone else who just hasn't gotten around to taking it yet...
There's the latest. I guess working in the child protective services doesn't necessarily mean that the children are your priority!
Frustrated but still trusting and Knowing that GOD IS IN CONTROL even when it doesn't feel like it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please Pray for Ema

I would like to ask you all to pray for Ema, short for Emanuel. He is 7 years old and starting first grade. He comes to church with his grandma and his little sister. His home situation is difficult. He will have to work hard to make it through school.


Please pray that we can find a good tutor for him. Someone with compassion for him and with patience. We pray that we as a family can have a good influence in his life and that he will continue coming to church as he gets older and decide to follow the Lord. Please pray for him when you think of Romania. Please also continue to pray that adoption laws will be changed. We need wisdom and patience to know how to minister to orphans. There is so much red tape to go through here in starting anything to do with orphans. Right now our focus has to be on the adoption and that is also a bunch of red tape but after that is complete we really want our church to do more to minister to the kids in our community who are abused, neglected and/or abandoned. Please pray with us that we would continue following and trusting God and we know He will direct our paths.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Camp Pictures

A few pictures I received from Isabela from the boys week at camp.






Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shopping for Clothes in Romania!

So, you may be wondering...where do you shop for 6 kids clothing in Romania...(so you may not be wondering but you will find out anyway if you keep reading). Well, now that I am discovering as the boys get older they wear out there clothes more and they can't all be passed down I am having to buy more clothes than I used to, plus the fact that we are adding a little girl in the midst. I realized, I cannot afford to get all my clothes new. I did do a little shopping at Childrensplace.com for a few new things but I had to find a new way of shopping. I have bought clothes new at Romanian stores in the past but they are expensive and cheaply made then a few years ago, thanks to Ramona, I discovered the Tuesday morning Gypsy market. You basically drive out to the outskirts of town to this big field where animals graze and poop on every other day of the week except Tuesday and there are all these big rolls of plastic spread out on the ground with piles and heaps of clothing from the west. I have discovered that with patience you can find some really good second hand clothes here, you just have to be willing to take the time to get down on your knees and dig for a while.
I had even prayed last night that God would help me find some clothes as fall is fast approaching and the kids need some clothes...sometimes I feel ridiculous praying that God would help me in my shopping endeavors but I have learned He cares about every little detail of my life so I pray about everything. I was getting discouraged after digging and digging and finding nothing until finally I stumbled on my gold mine...a table filled with good quality children's clothing where I found something for each child...except little Nate but he doesn't really need anything. I found 5 pairs of pants, a skirt, and 7 shirts for a total of $30. I wish I had brought my camera but seeing as how my back pack was stuffed with clothes by the end of the morning I really didn't have room for it anyway. So, God does care about my shopping and He did hear my prayer and gave an answer. Maybe next time I go I'll bring my camera and snap a few pictures of my quality clothing store in Romania, then you all will want to run over and shop with me :).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for Catalin and Nadia. They are a young couple in our church who are discouraged. They have been married for 10 years now and living with his parents. His parents are unsaved and they stuggle with living with them. It is hard having two families under one roof...one very small roof too. They have been looking at the possibility of getting an apartment. Prices are high though, the lowest price apartment is around $40,000. Catalin has a good job and makes decent money but due to the huge amount that businesses must pay in taxes for employees they make it look like he makes much less on paper making it possible for them to only get a $10,000 loan from a bank. There just doesn't seem to be any options. They are looking at the option of an apartment in her home village which is about a 30 minute drive from here and they would be much less faithful and involved at church. We pray that they won't jump to any hasty decisions and truly trust in their Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Please pray with us for them that God would make His will known to them and that they would be willing to wait on Him. Please pray that God would bring about an option here in Lugoj for them to be able to move out soon.
Thank you for lifting Catalin and Nadia up to our Father who knows our needs even before we speak them!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Precious Children



There was an old woman
Who lived in Romania
she had so many boys she didn't know what to do.
So she adopted a girl and another boy too
and then she was so happy
she gave them all ice cream and put them to bed!

You learn so many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
~Franklin P. Jones


While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt



What is a home without children? Quiet. ~Henny Youngman



Children are the brightest treasures we bring forth into this world, but too large a percentage of the population continues to treat them as inconveniences and nuisances, when they're not treating them as possessions or toys.

CHARLES DE LINT,



"Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them."
Richard L. Evans




"A child enters your home and makes so much noise for twenty years that you can hardly stand it: then departs leaving the house so silent that you think you will go mad"
John Andrew Holmes



Friday, August 15, 2008

Baron rescues Joyce

So, I will first start off by recommending that no one ride an old Romanian train when it is 100 degrees outside...
I have been taking the train all summer and it hasn't been bad. When I catch the inter city train it is a newer one and even has air and clean bathrooms but they you are limited to the times they run. I started taking a train early in the morning and picking up the twins and coming back the same day and those are the older trains. Up until now it hasn't been bad because the times I have gone haven't been hot, in fact when I went just 3 weeks ago it was rainy and chilly. So, I didn't even think about the fact that it was supposed to be 100 degrees yesterday when I took the train. The morning ride wasn't so bad, I left at 5 am and got there at 10 am. The taxi ride to Marghita was a little hot...only the driver put his window down, all other window had to be up out of fear for the "current". Romanians are very fearful of a cross draft, you can catch a cold and ear infection that way. They would rather stay in stagnent, dead, hot air then feel a current.
I picked up the kids and we took another taxi back to the train station in Oradea (about an hour away). It was 4:30 in the afternoon and it was 100 degrees. Praise the Lord this taxi turned on the air conditioning! We sat in the heat at the train station waiting for a our train that was 30 minutes late. When we got on the train we were in a cabin (there is room for 8) that was full and we were sitting on the side that the sun was beating in. Someone finally closed the window so the curtains could be closed so now the sun wasn't beating in but there was also no wind at all. After about 30 minutes at the next stop all the men got off and so there was more room. At this point I begin to panic, I was hot, stuffy and we were all dreanched. I saved the rest of my water for the twins because they had drank all their juice. I started to get a headache and nauseated. I was trying to figure out where I could throw up because I had taken a trip to the bathroom with the twins and lets just say, just the sight and smell of the bathroom would be enough to make one throw up so I knew I couldn't go in there. Then I was trying to keep the twins occupied and I got to feeling so bad that I didn't think I could make it a second longer. The twins were getting riled up and so I separated them and told them mommy doesn't feel good, please just sit still and probably because they too were so hot they did pretty good at sitting. We were supposed to change trains in Timisoara and arrive home in Lugoj and I had parked the van at the train station that morning so I would drive us home. I couldn't bear the thought of another hot train and I called Baron and asked him to please meet us in Timisoara and take us home in the air conditioned car and he kindly agreed right away. So, he walked with the boys to the train station to pick up the van. He packed up the boys in the van and met us at the station with water. I was ready to cry when I saw him and realized the air conditioned car was just minutes away. I felt so bad, I was so glad he came to our rescue. We have discovered I am like my mom...I don't do well in the heat. Even today we were visiting some friends and their puppy they wanted us to see and possibly take home (yes we took him home...I'll introduce him later) and we were sitting outside in the shade and I wasn't feeling too bad ( it was 100 degrees again today) but Baron asked if I was ok because my face was all red. I am thankful we don't have that many 100 degree days...I'll just have to drive around in the car with the air on on those days :) No more Romanian trains for me until the weather cools down! The kids had a great time together in the van on the way home. The twins were also glad they didn't have to get on another train...I was really tired of hearing "cand ajungem mami", they asked that over and over and over (when are we going to be there).
So, that is how Baron came to my rescue.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Ongoing Saga of Baron and the Romanian Police.

What is it exactly about Baron that makes the police in Romania desire to stop him..we can't figure it out but when we do we'll be sure and fix the problem. He still hasn't resolved the DL situation. He finally put in a request to get a new one from the state of MO and it should be here sometime next week...where is his old DL I believe that only God knows that. So, yes, he has been driving without a DL out of necessity and he has been driving the speed limit and obeying the rules of the road. He was quite shocked last night on his way back from dropping someone off at home after church to be stopped by a police..."what have I done now" was his first thought (I was not with him). The police man tells him he pulled him over because his license tag is hand written and that is illegal (it has been that way for 4 years now). He then asks to see his car papers...his car paper says his tires should be 185 radial and his tires are 195 and that is a fine plus getting your car papers taken away for 30 days or until you get the tires fixed (he has been driving with those size of tires for 7 years). Then he asks to see his insurance papers,Baron knew that his insurance expired this month and the insurance guy was coming today or tomorrow to renew it, but low and behold it had expired on the 8th of August just 2 days earlier, that would $400 fine. Then finally he asks to see Baron's DL...um well sir you see its kind of a long story but here goes, fortunately Baron had the paper with him as proof that his DL was taken and that his time had expired and he should be able to drive. So, he had a case stacked against him and he was looking at a huge fine for all of this. The police man asked Baron, "what do you suggest I do?" Baron said , "I just ask that you have mercy." So, he did and he only wrote him a ticket for driving without a DL which was about $60 but compared to what he was facing we were quite happy with that ticket! The police man was fortunately very kind and compassionate. Baron told him as he was leaving, "I will be only driving my bike until I get my license back." The policeman laughed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A conversation with American kids who live in Romania (my kids).

I really got a laugh out of this conversation I had with my kids on our way home from church tonight and I thought I would share it with you all.
Zach: "I am going to learn to drive a horse instead of a car when I get bigger."
Me: "Well, what if God calls you back to America, you can't drive a horse through the city."
Spencer: "Why not?"
Me: "Well, cars go really fast on roads in America and you can't ride a horse because the horse can't go fast enough."
Spencer: "Well, you could drive a horse in America if you lived in a village."
This is where I started to laugh...this was a serious conversation, they weren't kidding around and I got so tickled. Then Spencer said : "what, no villages in America!" I told them maybe they could live on a ranch in America and then they could ride their horses around the ranch.
Hopefully God will call them to stay in Romania then they can fill up their horse and buggy with people and bring them to church in the church "van".

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Camp

These are the 12 campers that went to camp this past week. We also took 7 younger kids including our two oldest sons 2 weeks ago. We also took up two workers. Isabela worked there for two weeks. She started coming to our church during VBS 4 years ago. She has been saved for a couple of years. We also took David, a student at the Bible college. He went and helped out this past week with our teens. Adelina, one of the girls that went to camp this week accepted Christ as her Savior.

This is the camp site. The camp was required by law to do some work on their kitchen. They had to construct a whole new kitchen. We received $1000 more then was needed to send our campers to camp so that went towards the construction of the new camp kitchen. They were very thankful to receive this money. Thank you to all of you who sent money for camp.



The road to camp.


Gina's room. We can't wait until she can be in it for always.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adoption Update

This is so hard to put into words but I will try and write it out so you all can understand where we are at. As you know an aunt (at least she said she was an aunt) showed up at the children's home saying she wanted to take the twins. The worker told her to come back and talk to the director and the aunt has not showed up again...this was over 4 weeks ago...(that is a good thing that it has been so long). So, the social worker and children's home director were told by their boss to proceed with our paper work. As of right now no one knows the aunt's name, if she really is their aunt, where she lives etc. This is all good and we are less worried about this aunt now.
As far as our day in court goes. The child protective services have 30 working days from when our last piece of paper was put in. Apparently they were missing a certain paper which just got put in 2 weeks ago (the twins social worker had to get a paper from our social worker in Timisoara and the first time she didn't get the right one..I think that is the reason it took so long). So, now after talking to the twins social worker she said we should hear from the department of child protection by the end of this month. They have the power to send it to court our they have the power to say, no right away and not send it on to court. I think the only way they would flat out say no is if this aunt showed up and spoke with them but if she did I think they would have to inform us of that. We are still trusting that this is truly in God's hands and really not in the hands of the people there, that is the only thing that will keep us sane in the whole process, knowing that God is ultimately in control. We did contact a lawyer but, after we told her where we were at in the process she seemed to think it was a normal thing to be waiting this long. She told us she would gladly give us a consult but I think we will not waste the money at this point since there is really nothing a lawyer could do yet.
The really hard thing is that with school starting it is going to be so much harder for visiting the twins. I can't put the boys education on the back burner but we also must maintain a relationship with the twins. Pray for us.
Also, pray for my friend who is supposed to be coming to stay with us for 6 months. I desperately need her help this year. She just recently had surgery for a herniated disk so I don't know when she will be coming now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

This week in the Howerton Family

I find myself today sitting at my kitchen table surrounded by mounds of home school books and I find myself feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed...ok make that completely overwhelmed! You have to do the same amount of planning for one 4th grader that a teacher would have to do for a whole class and then you also have to plan for a 3rd grader and a kindergartner. You want to make sure that they learn everything they need to and that they have a fun year too. I always told myself I would stick to one curriculum to make sure I got everything in and could be organized. This year I find myself using curriculum from 3 different companies! We start school August 25...if you think about it pray for me and my boys as we embark on this adventure in our one room school with their new teacher...Mrs. Howerton. I was so distracted by my planning today that I lost track of time and before I knew it Drew and Spencer had played video games for 4 hours!! I know, that is terrible but, they usually are only allowed to play on Saturday afternoons. Baron and Zach were gone all day and the boys didn't seem to know what to do with themselves and I was trying to get some planning done so I let them play while Nate napped and yes, Nate napped the entire 4 hours...I know, I know I am a lucky lady to have a 2 year old that naps for so long!

In other news...Nate is no longer in a crib. I had to make room for school desks so his crib had to go. We have a bunk bed with a double bed on the bottom that some friends gave us. So, we have a dorm room for boys in our house...when our boys go off to college it will be no adjustment at all, they will move from one dorm room to another. Nate is so stubborn I thought for sure it would be a difficult adjustment getting him to stay in his bed. I don't know if it is because he is in the same room as the big boys and has their example to follow but moving him to a big boy bed has been a breeze. He doesn't get up until I come in and wake them up in the morning. So, I thought surely nap time will be a challenge when he is in there all alone...wrong again. No problem at all, I think he likes likes his bobop (a.k.a. pacifier) so much that he longs for nighty night time when he is allowed to have it. I do think I am the worlds luckiest mom...I have great sleepers. No bed time whines for water, potty, or anything like that. Even the twins are great sleepers. God knew I would be a really cranky mom if I didn't get enough sleep so he granted me kids that sleep through the night and nap well.
One other story about great sleepers. When we came back from furlough 2 years ago after Nate was born I was a bit emotional. I remembered the last time we came back to Romania with a newborn how long it took him to adjust to the time change. I was really struggling this time with my emotions and was worried that a lack of sleep would just push me over the top. Our first night back in Romania I put 3 month old Nate into his crib expecting to wake up with him in a couple of hours. I put him down at 7 p.m. and didn't hear a peep from him until 7 the next morning and that was that. God was so generous to me and aided my emotional recovery by allowing me to sleep through the night. From that night on, he slept 12 hours each night. It was such a blessing from God that I will never forget.
I hope and pray to have some news soon on at least a court date this month. We by law should at least get a court date in September. Please continue to pray.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh where, oh where could Baron's dl be?

So, I thought about not telling this story because I didn't want to make Baron look bad as far as his driving goes but I decided I had to share it so you can share in the wonderful frustration of living here :).
So, way back when Baron's parents were here in May he got a ticket for passing on a solid line and the fine is loosing your dl for 30 days. (Now I must throw in how many of the two lane roads have solid lines and how hard it is to wait behind a car or truck going about 30 mph until the solid line becomes a dotted line and how safe his pass was but it was a solid line none the less and he acknowledges his wrong doing and has more than paid his punishment). So, they took his dl (his American one) and gave him a piece of paper that he could drive with for 15 more days and then he would have to not drive for 30 days. We heard from someone that since it was his first time getting his dl taken away he may be able to get it back early so we went to Timisoara police station where his dl was supposed to be held. We get there and the police man tells him, "oh, I'm sorry your dl isn't here. It is a foreign dl and our policy is if you don't come in within 15 days and put in a request for the dl to remain in the country we send it back to the states." Well, if only it were that simple...just sending it back to the states. So, we ask where exactly they send it to and they said well, we send it to the road police in Bucharest and then they send it on to the American embassy in Bucharest. So, then we call the embassy and they say they haven't received it and that it can take sometimes up to 4 weeks before they get it and the suggested we find out the actual date it was sent. Unfortunately the one man who can answer the question we need to know in Timisoara can not be reached by phone and we have to take a trip there to ask. He tells us it was sent June 20. Baron is supposed to be able to drive the first of July but without a dl in his hand we can't really risk him driving (the luck he has with police here he would for sure get pulled over for something and not having a dl is a big fine). He emails the embassy and explains the situation and asks if when they get his dl they would please send it to our address here in Romanian instead of sending it back to the states and they agreed that they would. Well, after staying in contact with the embassy and five weeks after the dl was sent they still didn't have it so we got the phone number for the police station in Bucharest and they tell us they mailed it to the embassy on the 8th of July...that was 3 weeks ago and they were just sending it across town. He called the police station back to tell them the embassy had not gotten it yet and are they sure they sent it and the police man was not at all surprised they hadn't received it yet...he said it is normal for it to take 3 or more weeks for something to just make it across town! So, here we sit waiting for Baron to get his dl back and rest assured he will from now on wait behind the truck going 30mph until the line is no longer solid. What we find so amusing is that this country is a part of the EU and yet something as simple as getting a dl back in 30 days is going to end up taking more like 60 or more days!!

Another frustration is the fact that the courts close down for most of July and all of August so our twins who are waiting so eagerly to come home must wait until all the judges come back from vacation before we can get a court date.

We trust that God will teach us patience through all this and to realize we can be content even when life throws us a lot of curves in our pathway and we can't see what lies ahead. We can know that God sees what lies ahead and that is enough.

Waiting on the Promises of God

This is an article my sister sent to me to read from christianity.com
I was encouraged by it so I thought I would share it:


For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1: 20

By nature, God is a promiser. He's made a ton of them to His children. A promise is the assurance that God gives to His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

You don't realize how much you need God's promises until your smooth and easy life suddenly turns sideways. This is the time to dig into God's Word and get something to wrap your faith around.

Now the Christian life would be easy if the space in time is small between when you claim God's promises and when you receive what He promised. Read it one day and get it the next. Wow - wouldn't that be great!?


But life's not like that.

The hard part is in the waiting between the promise and the answer; and even harder, when the waiting comes with uncertainties.

Where's this going? Where am I going to end up? What's my future look like?

The reality is, we just don't know and it's this not-knowing that crushes us. We doubt because we don't know. We worry and despair because we don't know. We falter and sometimes fail - all because we don't know. If only we knew how this trial was going to play out, we would be OK. But we don't.

I can take a bad day. I can take a bad month. I can even take a bad year or bad decade, if I have to, as long as I know how it will end up. For some of you it's a health crisis. For another, it's a question about your marriage or an uncertainty with a child. For someone else, it's a restlessness in your soul. We all have areas of uncertainty where we need to hold on to what God has said. His promises are what we cling to while we wait for Him to work. Our faith is in God. He knows what He has promised, He can't lie, and He can't forget. He will deliver on time, all the time. Who else can make promises like that?

Now I wish I could tell you that it always figures out perfectly in our lifetimes, but I would be lying to you. You cannot make sense of the promises of God with this life only. You must factor the reality of eternity into the equation. Eternity brings it all together. The promises of eternal life and the assurance of hope in heaven are what make God's promises exceedingly great and precious.
--James MacDonald

God, forgive us for thinking that everything must make sense today in the economy of our human satisfaction. Give us faith to believe that we're here for a purpose that is greater than ourselves, greater than our personal enjoyment, even greater than our participation in building Your kingdom. Our lives are about a legacy-Your glory. Amen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Please Pray

I have some new developments in the adoption of the twins. I went to pick them up yesterday and bring them here for a 5 day visit. The director of the children's home wanted to talk with me. She told me she had something she wanted to tell me so we could pray about it...a new development in the case...that didn't sound good to me. She said she had debated for a couple of weeks wether or not to tell us this because she didn't want to cause unnecessary stress because this happens a lot and many times nothing comes of it. So, she said a couple weeks ago and aunt of the twins (their mom's sister) strolls in to Casa Alba and says she wants them. She has never even met them before. When the social worker was out getting all the family to sign off this aunt was not found and no one knew where she was...she was out of the country in Hungary. She hasn't been back yet to see the twins or to even file any paper work but at some point she is going to have to be tracked down and sign off on the twins. The director told me she didn't mention anything to her about us because sometimes when they find out someone wants to adopt the kids they become more determined to get them. She would have to prove she was capable and had the means to care for them. Please pray, this would be devestating both for us and the twins if it came to fruition. Satan does not want these children to be raised in a loving Christian home and he is fighting it every step of the way. Even the director told us she thought this was going to be an easy case but Satan has stopped all orphans in Romania from being put into Christian families and he doesn't want any exceptions.
Please pray for the orphans of Romania. What really needs to happen is for revival to come and sweep across this nation so people will get saved and stop abandoning their babies.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

our trip to Budapest

Just remember when reading this it never sounds as funny as it really was! We took a little vacation to Budapest, Hungary for two days. We met another family, the Sheltons, who live in Vienna there. They also have 4 sons. So we had 8 boys running around the zoo ages 9 1/2, 8 1/2, 8, 6, 5, 4, 2, 1 1/2...I think we were the zoo. Needless to say we got quite a few stares through out the day as we ran from animal to animal. The boys had so much fun and the weather was just perfect. We stayed on the 7th floor with no air which could have been miserable in July but God granted us overcast weather and only in the 70's. It was just perfect.
So, we take all 8 of our kids on public transportation. That was fun, the escalators down to the subway are very steep and very fast. We did the best we could buying our tickets since none of us knew the language and there isn't anything really listed in English to know what to buy. We have taken public transportation many times before and never had problems. Well, after a great day at the zoo we were heading back on the subway. Each adult had our single tickets which we thought meant we were good from one destination until our final destination and some guys even checked our tickets when we switched lines and said we were okay. We get to the end of our ride and some more guys are checking our tickets and they call us over and tell us we cheated and took two subways with only one ticket and demand we each pay 6,000forinth which is about $30 or $40! We were just a flabber gasted!! We told him the other guys checked us (there was a young man here translating for us) and said we were okay and he said oh they were just security they don't know about the tickets. Well, finally he says he is going to call the police and the fine will go up etc etc and I opened Baron's wallet to show him...we only have this much cash on us...we can't pay on the spot (we had 6,000 forinth on us) he grabbed that money wrote us out a stupid little receit...then Stan showed him what he had...only 3,000 on him and he just finally (after a very long discussion with him of why we didn't think it was right we had to pay this fine) said just go and waved us on! We were looking at paying an $80 fine for Baron and I we ended up paying $40 which was bad enough especially since we completely thought we were okay and other Hungarians had checked our tickets (how were we to know they were just security officers and didn't know whether our tickets were ok or not, if they had stopped us and said oh wait you can't get on with these tickets you need to go buy another one we would have).
So, we tried not to fume and fuss too much about this steep fine that was completely un just (we assume they target foreigners b/c they carry cash on them and they can demand they pay on the spot).
We get to TGI Friday's thinking of how we wished we had that $40 back when the waitress tells us kids under 6 eat free plus we get free refills on drinks (ok I know for many of you this seems trivial but as many times as we have gone to eat at TGI Friday's in Budapest we have never gotten free refills on our cokes and our kids have never eaten for free). So, we were kind of pumped about this. We had one 6 year old with us so we decided to ask...is that for under 6 or 6 and under. She said well its supposed to be under 6 but we'll give it to the 6 year old too. So, we start to order and I say ok we have 2 over 6 and 2 under 6 and she says, "lets just make this easy on everyone...all the kids will eat free tonight." Well, you can imagine our excitement (I mean 2 missionary families living on a tight budget with a total of 8 kids can you imagine how estatic we were :) ). So, it kind of helped us forget about the unjust fine we had to pay.
The kids did great considering how tired they were...until the very end...my wonderful cute little Nate hit the point of no return and began to pitch a ROYAL fit and boy do I mean ROYAL!! I didn't know what in the world to do...I am in the middle of this big mall and my child is screaming his lungs out! We had a little "chat" and he settled down a little bit...the lady at the restaurant once again saved the day by giving him a balloon which pacified him until we could get our bills paid and get out of there!!
What an adventure...oh another funny story ( I wish we could have caught this on video) The 6 biggest boys were running from animal to animal...they always got to the next animal before we did. They got to the gorilla cage and boy were those things huge. So all 6 boys are pressed against the glass and the big male gorilla just comes up out of no where and puts his face against the glass right in their faces...we caught them as they were all running away screaming! It elicited tears from one of the boys even...it was hilarious to see them all scream and run from the gorilla.
I posted some pictures of our trip on facebook. I got the pictures that Grace took since my camera is out of commission...the good news...we got a new one even better then our old one and it is on its way to Romania!!
Pray for camp next week. We take our first load of kids including Zach and Spencer. Zach went last year and loved it. This will be Spence's first year and he is not so excited :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good Week

We had a busy week this week. We are thankful for the 8 people from Tri City in Independence, MO who were here helping us this week. Jim and Cheryl Bishop brought 6 college students with them. The guys spent the week helping Baron rebuild part of the fence at church. The girls helped me with different projects around the house including using the chain saw to cut up some old lumber to use for firewood this winter! They also painted Gina's room for me and painted some old furniture for her room! In the evenings we had VBS. We are thankful for the mild weather this past week and for all the work this group did to help us and encourage us. Our boys enjoyed making new friends and really enjoyed being with the "Americans" as they called them. We had about 41 on our biggest day for VBS which was a perfect number for us. We couldn't really have handled more. There were really only Baron and I to speak to the kids and keep them under control and they are a bunch of undisciplined kids so we had our hands full with just that many. The group did all the crafts and games for us. We hope that some of the 12 year olds that came will start coming to our teen Bible study this fall.

Adoption update: I was hoping to get a court date soon but it looks like we will not get one before the courts completely close down in August. I am trying really hard not to be disappointed but it is looking like at least September before we get a date and then we aren't even assured of getting the twins placed with us then. We have to trust that God is in control and trust that He will complete the work He started in us and the twins and bring us together as a family when He knows it is best. This week what was my bed as a little girl was painted to be put in Gina's room and many other little "treasures" were found to paint and put in her room. I just hope we can fill the room with our little girl soon!

We are thanking God for His goodness, for the blessing of fellowship with friends from the states, with the blessing of getting a new camera better then our old one that broke, for the blessing of Him loving us and paying the price so we could have eternal life with Him. He is good!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Camera

Well, Zach and I went to Marghita on Monday and Tuesday to visit with the twins again. Sometimes I think it is harder going to visit them then not visiting them. They run up and give hugs and are happy to see me then when they find out I am not taking them home they give me the cold shoulder. They just don't understand...actually, neither do I! I was glad to have Zach as a traveling companion...I hate traveling alone. We took the train that left at 3:55 am. I had noticed a train passing one day in the middle of the afternoon with all the people hanging out the window to try and get some air and I thought...wow that doesn't look like fun so we decided to travel in the coolest part of the day! It was a good decision. We got home Tuesday at midnight. Gina's face continues to heal. I would love any recommendations on a good cream for minmal scarring...any suggestions??

Sadly, my Canon Power Shot SD400 Elf camera has died. It was dropped and has pieces rattling around on the inside...it is beyond repair. I tried to put a bid for a used one on ebay but my account was suspended...not sure why trying to find out. In the mean time...if anyone has a digital camera they are wanting to sell I would be interested.

The child protective services asked for yet another paper...hoping that is a sign that they aren't going to reject us and hoping and praying we hear something soon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lessons I'm Learning

I haven't had much to write lately on the adoption process because it is just a time of waiting right now...we heard recently though, the word "soon" so we are hopeful that we will hear something..."soon". I have been learning a lot lately and wanted to share some lessons from God. I started reading a book called Calm My Anxious Heart. I never really considered before that I had an anxious heart. I thought I was a pretty laid back and calm person. But then God showed me how I say I trust Him in all things but so many times I take things into my own hands because I don't think God is working fast enough. I always thought I was a content person until I realized how much I really complain about things. I read about Ella, a missionary to the pygmies in Africa for 52 years. Life was not easy for her but her daughter was amazed that throughout the years she saw her mom so content. She later discovered in a journal, her mom's prescription for contentment:

1. Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
2. Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
3. Never compare your lot with another's.
4. Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
5. Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that (tomorrow) is God's, not ours.

I desire a peace separate from my circumstances and intend with God's help to put these principles into practice (it will not be easy...my flesh will fight me). Here is one definition of Contentment: "it is essentially a matter of accepting from God's hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good."

Psalm 16:5 says, "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure." This is what Elisabeth Elliot says about this verse: "I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned 'portion' ("This belongs to it, that does not")? ARe some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."

I have so many things that get in the way of God sitting on the throne of my heart at all times. I am taking steps to focus on Him and put aside the things that so easily take my focus off of Him. I will replace my thought process with things that are only lovely, good, pure, true, noble, right, and worthy of praise. Any habit that gets in the way of the Spirit of God having complete control of me has to go. I desire to be under His complete control not just sometimes when it feels right. I want to be known as a woman who truly trusts in God with everything. I want Jesus to shine through me and show the people around me in darkenss that the light is better then the darkness. I am so thankful to God for what He is teaching me and pray He continues to open my eyes to the sins that so easily drag me down!
Thank you for continuing to hold us up in prayer and for praying for our twins.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why is Adoption so hard in Romania?

So, I thought I would explain to you all why adoption is such a slow process in Romania. The old law stated that if a child wasn't visited for 6 months by family they were legally adoptable. When Romania wanted to enter the EU, the EU told them they needed to clean up their act as far as abandoned children before they could enter the EU. There was a lot of child trafficking going on at the time and the EU wanted that to stop. Also there is a lady in England named Ema Nicklson (not sure if that spelling is right) who sat on the committe that would accept or reject Romania into the EU and she has this thing against foreign adoptions. I am sure the lady never spent a day in her life actually speaking to the orphans and finding out what it is like to grow up in an institution but she thinks she knows what is best for orphans and she thinks it is better they grow up in an institution then be taken out of their country. So, she was pushing Romania to close down international adoption. It was supposed to be temporary but has turned into a long term thing. We are not considered an international adoption since we live here and have permanent residency. They also changed the law on how children are declared adoptable. It is very hard to get a child declared adoptable. So, even though there are some 50,000 kids in the system in Romania they don't have a problem because those kids don't show up on the adoptable list. They say that there is a long list of Romanians waiting to adopt and not enough children. The other problem is, Romanians specify that they want babies under the age of 1 and they don't want gypsies (this was told to us by several social workers here in the country). The other problem is it takes long time to get a child declared adoptable hence not many babies. So, that is why there is a long waiting list.
So, what has to be done to get a child declared adoptable? A social worker (who has a huge case overload) has to determine if any one in the family wants the child...aunts, uncles, grandparents to the 4th degree. All family must be willing to sign off that they child can be put up for adoption. Many parents can't or don't want to care for their child but they also don't want the child to be in another family. So the law says that if it is obvious the family will never take the child in the social worker can push to get them to sign off and loose their rights. The problem is there really is no one to adopt these older children so why bother to do the work of getting them declared adoptable. In our twins case, they were abandoned at birth but their mother came to visit them every year and didn't want to sign off her rights. The father is not listed on the birth certificate so he has no rights. The mother passed away unexepctantly last December and the twins social worker decided to put the twins up for adoption. When we got the phone call about them they were still not declared legally adoptable. So, now we are doing paper work (which we have already done to be adoptive parents) again to become their legal guardians. Once we are their legal guardians we can go to court and say they should be declared adoptable because their mother is dead and there is no father and the uncles have signed off. (We are actually still waiting for the uncles to sign off but don't think it will be a problem.)
So, in the end the ones who are being hurt and suffering are the children. There are still many children hanging in the middle. When adoption was closed there were many children that had already been paired with a family and many of those families and children continue to wait today.
So, what can you do...you can pray. Fast and pray for the children of Romania. Pray that we will get a court date before the courts close down for vacation in July and August and that we will find favor in their sight and be granted legal guardianship of the twins. Gina gets sick every time we drop her back off at the children's home. She gets a fever and is lethargic. It is so hard for her to go back, she wants to be with her family. She keeps asking us to please hurry and get the papers done so we can come and take her home. We would have never told them so soon that we wanted to be their family if we knew it would take so long to get them home. Their case was supposed to be easy, cut and dry but as we have learned nothing is cut and dry in Romania.
Please cry out to God for these kids and especially for our twins and the other kids at Casa Alba!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Special Requests

I had to take the twins back. After having them in our home for almost 2 weeks it was very very hard to return them. As I was putting them to bed at Casa Alba they kept telling me to please hurry and get the papers done so I could come back and take them home as quick as possible. Please pray that we get our papers done this next week and get a court date quickly and get accepted to be their legal guardians. Also pray for Gina's face to heal. I just haven't been able to write about what happened so for those of you who don't know...she was bit by our dog and got 7 stitches in her face. We got rid of the dog right away and she is doing great. The director of the home they come from graciously allowed us to keep them another week so I could care for Gina and make sure she got her medicine. The stitches came out Friday and I had to take them back. All I can say is I am starting to feel physicaly ill when I have to take them back. Pray that I can trust God with this and not react.

I have 2 special requests to be made known. The first one is about camp. We have sent out a letter but some of you may not get the letter. We are sending 20 kids to camp this summer and are looking for people to support them. It cost $40 per kid. If you are interested in sponsering a camper you can just send it to our mission board and lable it for camp.

My second request is this...does anyone remember when they were growing up those little instrument sets with tamborines and the triangle and the little instruments like that? If anyone has some of those lying around I would love to have some of those. You could either send them here directly or there is a team from our sending church, Tri City in Independence, MO coming here July 4th and you could send them to my in laws and the team could bring them. If you can help with this email me and I can give you the address to send it to.

I am so thankful for those of you who encourage me and pray for me and keep in touch with me. It means so much to me. I will admit that this incident with Gina has really troubled me and the length of time it is taking to get them placed with us is wearing on me. So, pray for physical and emotional strength. Pray that I will not allow myself to give in to these feelings and that the joy of the Lord will be my strength.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Precious Words from an orphan.

I am just enjoying the moments we are having with the twins. Building a house with Gheorghe, laughing at the mischievous twinkle always in his eye. Playing in the sand and covering all the kids up! Last night Gina fixed my hair while I was reading a story and then Gheorghe told me it wasn't pretty and I needed to come to him and let him make it pretty. Today Gina again was "doing my hair" putting it in numerous piggy tails...nice :) So, after lunch we were just chatting and Gina said "I love Zach, and Spence, and Drew, and Nate and the whole family." Then she started talking about how she needed a family. I told her again that we were her family and she said "oh, I know you are my family, but I need to get her quick to be with my family. I am so happy that God gave me a family. I am so happy to have a family."
That just melted my heart. I love them so much and am so happy that God gave me them as a family. I love to see them bonding more and more every day. I love how they love to be here with us and accept our love and affection.
Pray for us. We are putting in our paper work and then hope to receive soon a court date for legal guardianship. Pray it goes through and that they will be in our home within a month!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May Happenings.

We have had a lot going on the past few weeks. My parents left and 5 days later Baron's parents arrived. Baron's dad had just fallen 2 weeks earlier and broken 2 ribs but he was able to make it to Romania in spite of the pain. Now he has a cold and is coughing and that makes for more pain. Remember to pray for him. We are so glad they could come though. We are picking up the twins tomorrow and they will be with us until Friday. So now they will have met both their sets of grandparents. I just hate the thought of taking them back to the orphanage again. I remember how hard it was last time. Gina Grace was sick with a stomach bug last week. Last Monday, Baron put in our request to be their legal guardian. We pray by some miracle it is accepted and that we don't have to go any farther. They have to respond to our request within 30 days so we have 3 weeks left to wait.
We just finished up our 6th year at the Bible college. There were 3 graduates this year. We will now take a pause from the college to focus on our church and the big adjustment of adding 2 more to the family.
I found out this past week that my little Drew who is almost 5 can read! I have worked with him very little and very inconsistantly on reading. My mother in law at dinner one night said, "Drew was reading me a story." I looked at her surprised and informed her that he doesn't know how to read yet. Well, did he prove me wrong. He was reading from these little easy reader books and sounding out the words. I had thought maybe he had just memorized a story but no, book after book he read to me! Now I have 2 little boys that are too smart for their own britches! My oldest Zach pretty much was self taught. I just guided him along. He also taught himself to read Romanian before he was 6. I wonder if Drew will do that! Nate is becoming quite the entertainer. He has a personality all his own. He sings loud in church now and claps and says Amin really loud. He has learned to sit pretty quietly during the actual preaching now. Spencer continues to amuse us all with his little jokes and quirkiness. He will be in 3rd grade next year. He turns 8 on June 5 and Nate turns 2 on June 12.
We had a special song service and testimony time tonight. We let the people pick out songs they wanted to sing and it was fun to hear them sing out praises to God when they picked their favorite songs. One of our young adults shared her testimony which was an encouragement to me. Cristina works as a nurse in the afternoon at a doctor office. She has also been working mornings at a laboratory. She shared tonight that she had been making good money with these 2 jobs but she wasn't happy, that something was missing. She quit her job at the lab so she could go back to spending her mornings with God. Isn't it wonderful to see the Holy Spirit working in people's lives!
We seem to have started a weekly tradition with Angelo our Italian friend. Three weeks ago he came over and grilled out for my parents. We have been doing it every Saturday since then. I wish we had more Angelo's in our church. He is a light wherever he goes and is constantly sharing his faith with people he meets. Each Saturday we try to have someone over who doesn't know the Lord. Someone that we have a relationship with or Angelo has met and shared the gospel with. Pray for Angelo to continue to shine brightly for Jesus and that he will see fruit for his labor. He is also friends with 2 men my dad met at the market while he was here. One of them came to church last week and came to our house Saturday for the cook out. Pray for these 2 men that the Holy Spirit will work in their lives and change their hearts.
This week is our last week of school with the boys. Their school teacher, Miss Erin has been with us for 2 years. She has been a great blessing to me and taken a load off of me these past 2 years. I really enjoyed having the time to spend with my last baby and many quiet times with God. She will be moving out of her apartment this week and then leaving to teach possibly in Mexico next year. After this next week and a half we may have a little quietness for a couple of weeks. I pray the summer isn't too quiet, I am hoping to have 6 kids in our home this summer instead of just 4! I know some of you are thinking I am crazy...and you know what...you have to be a little crazy to want so many kids! You know, I am just trying to keep up with my sister in law...she's got 7 :) Looks like if you want to see us you will have to come to Romania because with so many kids I don't think we'll be coming to American any time soon! I tried to get Baron to let me take a trip to America this summer so I could go to Charleston with my sister but he didn't agree that it was a good idea :).
So, that is what has been happening in our lives. I'll keep you updated on the adoption as soon as I know more.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This and That

Well, the first thing I will write about is the adoption update. Cati got a hold of a jurist in Bucharest in the adoption department. They told her that we should put in a request for legal guardianship. They told her that we can be their legal guardian and adoptive family and that it is ok that we are in a different county. Cati also talked to someone in her county and a lawyer in her county and they both told her what was going on was ridiculous. So, until there is a file open on the twins we can't really take it any further. We will put in the request and if it is rejected then we can take it to Bucharest and get them to do something. I am praying that the twins are with us within a month. Pray for the twins, they always ask us on the phone when we are coming to take them home.

We had a great visit with my parents. They were here for 5 weeks. They left this morning from Budapest. We were sorry to see them go. My dad walked to the market almost every day while he was here and built a relationship with some people down there. The door is open for us to minister to some new people thanks to him. I love having visitors come but always hate to see them go. The boys got used to having them here too.

I have several unspoken prayer reuests for friends and family. Also, Baron's parents are supposed to be coming next week but we aren't sure yet if that will happen. His dad fell last week and broke 2 ribs. He is in a lot of pain right now. I believe he goes to an orthopedic dr today and he will advice them on whether they can come or not. Pray for them.

Pray that we won't get discouraged. It is frustrating to be trying to do something good and meet up with such big stone walls. I just feel kind of numb right now with all that is going on. Trusting God to knock down some big stone walls!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Road Block

I was really hoping to come back with some sort of good news but...no such luck. I can't really even put into words what craziness is going on. It is so hard to put into words because it just doesn't make any logical sense. Romania has to be one of the hardest places in the world to adopt children from. We had seen so many people adopt from here and go through years of turmoil before it was final and so we decided..."that isn't going to happen to us...we are going to do things the right way." :) Well, there is no right way we are discovering. We did what we thought was right, first you are accepted to adopt then you wait for your children. WE even asked our social worker..can we find our own child, she said yes just be sure and give her the name so she can make sure the child is truly adoptable. So, God brings us to our twins and we meet them thinking, mom is dead no dad on birth certificate that has got to be the easiest case scenerio here in Romania. Wrong again. We finally decided to go talk to the Child Protective services of Bihor county ourselves. We went with a Romanian friend who knows the adoption laws and cares about the best interest of the children of Romania. She couldn't even get through to them. All we discovered yesterday in our meeting was that each county of Romania interprets the law how they see fit and they are to proud to look at it in another light and let anyone try and show them another possibility. What they are saying about the twins is first of all that we shouldn't have even met them since they aren't adoptable yet...the problem in Romania is unless someone is interested in a child no one pursues having them declared adoptable so almost all cases of adoption are the parents taking in a child and then proceeding to have them delcared adoptable. Then she also tells us that a family from Bihor county will have priority in adopting them...we aren't too worried about this because there are not Romanian families lined up to adopt #1 gypsies #2 two at a time and #3 4 year olds. The next thing we learned is that they say the twins must be placed in the care of a legal guardian to be declared adoptable by the legal guardian which means moving from the only home they have ever known into another home when all this time they thought they were moving into our home. To make a long story short, our friend is taking this to Bucharest to see what she can do. It is so frustrating to see people working in child protective services who really don't care about the kids and really don't care to go and see what the kids really need or want. Our twins keep asking us when we are bringing them home. How do we explain to 2 4 year olds the laws that keep so many Romanian children from being adopted? I wish the law makers would be required to go spend time in institutions and asking the kids what they think.
Please pray for our twins...they are becoming more emotional when we leave them. Pray for Cati as she goes to Bucharest next Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our family

We had a wonderful week with the twins. They seem to love being in our family and are eager to please. They seem to feel comfortable and at ease here and took naps every day and slept every night. I began to realize towards the end of their visit just how hard it really was going to be to take them back!

We celebrated their 4th birthday on April 22. Gina loved "helping" me make the cake...she actually stood there eating it as I made it :). They both always come into the kitchen and want to help mom fix the food. Gina loves to stand in the bathroom and watch me get ready. She loves dressing up and having her hair fixed and she loves to take baths. She wanted a bath every day she was here so I obliged!
They were excited about getting on the train back to Casa Alba but then they kept asking me if we were going back home. It is really hard to explain to a 4 year old why they can't live at home with their family yet. So, I just explained by saying soon they would not have to go back to Casa Alba they would live with us forever. I put them to bed and then went back to check on them and Gina Grace was standing up in bed crying. I went in and she said, "I want to go with you." If that doesn't rip a mom's heart out I don't know what will! Oh, I felt so bad. I got her semi settled down and had to leave. I heard from one of the workers that she had a hard time falling asleep that night and cried a lot.
We are going to Oradea next week to try and resolve this problem of getting them in our home. Pray that something can be worked out. The twins had a great time getting to know their nana and papa mac. They picked up on some key English phrases such as...yummy yummy for the tummy and bless you and fee fi fo fum :). Please pray that the hearts of the superiors making the decision to keep the twins from our home will be changed. We will meet either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. We don't know which yet.
On a lighter note. Our little Nater is growing up before our eyes. He is saying words clearly now. Before he hadn't said the end of the word he would say Ma for Mac (our dog) but now he is putting the end on words. He is also having temper tantrums...they are short lived but still I never had a child so stubborn before. He is very stubborn!
Thank you for your prayers.