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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.

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.