About Me

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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

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!