Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, The Unpredictability.

I was going to post a give away last night, however, our internet was not working.
And then this morning I woke up sick and have been on the couch all morning.
So, I will be back next week, hopefully feeling more like myself.
After all, I still need to do “My 6 Most Favorite Things About China” post.
(I know, even sick, I must tease a little longer).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Aiden Siafa

My little Liberian son.  When we heard that a newborn boy was in need of a family, we emailed immediately asking to be your family.  Soon a picture of this adorable little baby filled my thoughts constantly.  

Traveling to bring you home was such a wonderful experience since it was my second trip to Liberia and I was getting to see friends from the last trip.

Two surprises awaited us...
you were HUGE for an almost 5 month old baby.  In fact, I was “warned” before they brought you upstairs that you were one “big baby”.  As they handed you to me, I thought “Wow, he really is big!!!  I should have known this was just the beginning of your “bigness”. 

Second surprise, you had an older  sister who was in the orphanage and I was able to meet her.  Of course, after that meeting I knew that we would need a miracle so that we could bring her home and keep ya’ll together.  (And that’s another story, but yes, we got that miracle.)

And now, here you are-FOUR years old...hardly a baby anymore. 

At four, you amaze us with your strength, which seems subhuman at times.  You REALLY are one of the most muscular and strongest little boys we have ever seen.  But the beauty of you is all that HUGENESS is on the inside also.  You love large, you play large, you get angry large (we are working on LARGE training for this one), you laugh large and just enjoy life in your special way - WITH ALL YOU’VE GOT. 

I love you dearly my little man!!! And I am so glad that God gave you to me!!!

(P.S.- come back later family and friends-I have a little give away because I love you all). 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

I really do love black and white photography.  It just has such a different “feeling” to it. 
Here are two that I liked...
Baby Adventurer in the first one...
and this one of Caresse.  I can just barely see the baby hood in her face in it’s last remaining days as she is turning into a young lady. 
Visit Lisa’s blog to see some other inspiring b&w photography and get snappin’ to join the fun.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Funny First

I enjoyed ya’ll comments on the last post!!!  I promise, more will be coming.

This picture is so precious to me!  I love how Keshawn practically wraps himself around me. 
His first word is so funny (beside “ouch”-which I’m not sure is technically a word). 
Keshawn’s  first word is “ehp”... which translate into “help”.  The reason this is so funny is he understands one thing about this word - when he uses it we all come running.  If he wants outside to be with the others, he says “ehp” to get the screen opened by someone.  His leg was stuck a few days ago, and he kept saying “ehp” over and over until Kiana and I realized he really did need help.  When he wants out of his highchair it is “ehp”.  We hear a “ehp” when he wants to be pushed in his play car. 
I would say we have trained him very well...O.K., so it’s the other way around. 
However, there is one thing he can say without words...he will get his bottle off of the table and bring it to me....that’s pretty good “sign” language for hold me!
So, some of the children have begged me to do what I do several times in a summer with them....sleep outside under the stars in our sleeping bags.  We have some old twin mattresses that we set up to make it more comfortable for us.  I’m not sure how this came about, and even though a part of me would really like to be in my bed with my husband, this has become a little tradition.  So, I will be enjoying nature tonight with some little people and thanking the LORD for the fun and the beauty tonight.  
Are ya’ll enjoying your summer...what is your favorite thing to do? I would love to know...please do share! 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Friend at Joy Unspeakable Has Awesome News!!

First, thank you all for your sweet comments on my last few post this week.  We have been so busy with different things, and I know a few people have left emails for me. I promise to try to get to those soon!!!!

Steve was gone all last week; YEAAAA, he got home last week. We have a wedding to attend today, and tomorrow our local newspaper wants to do a follow up on an article that they did last year. Please pray that we represent Jesus well!!

One to this most exciting news from my friend at Joy Unspeakable! I know some of you already know this family and are already rejoicing with them as they fundraise to bring home a beautiful boy who is waiting form them in China. 

So, just click on the button and see how you can be part of the fun!!!

"Take the Layers Off, One by One"

This is such a beautiful post!!!
All you women, no mater your age,
please take the time to read it.
And  may we all continue to encourage each other to
Take the Layers off, One by One.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Domestic Adoption

I said that I would answer the question “Why are you adopting internationally, instead adopting the children that need a home in your own country?”

So, I am going to go back a few years to get to today.  Steve and I always knew that we wanted a large family and that adoption would probably be apart of our story...though, we never knew how large apart!!!  When we heard about the little girls of China that were in orphanages waiting for a family, we knew that this was where the LORD was leading us. So, two years after the life-threatening pregnancy of our 3rd child, we added our small daughter from China.  We found out that boys were waiting in S. Korea and we knew that this was were the LORD was leading us. After Landon came home, we felt (again) that the LORD was leading us to waiting boys in Vietnam. At this point MANY trials and pains hit our family.  
As we walked through those difficult years, we also waited. We had put in paper work asking to adopt a child from an amazing organization in Tulsa, O.K.-Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.  Two years later we received a phone call that a birthmother had chosen our family to adopt her baby and she would be giving birth in the next few weeks. Much healing and growing had happened in our family and we were ready!  A few weeks later, before Christmas, Kalyn and I were flying to Tulsa, to meet our newest family member-a newborn baby boy.  It was amazing to go to the hospital and meet the birth mother, and then we waited (for what seemed like forever) for the nurses to bring “the baby”. I was so dying to meet him and so wanting the respect this young birthmother.  Finally, he was there!!! I was allowed to stay in a hospital room and able to begin mothering him immediately.  And I was able to continue to visit the birth mother and share the miracle of this new child. 
Corbin Samuel will turn 6 this Christmas.  And I can still say that experience was one of the most amazing times of my life. 
A few years later Steve and I felt that the LORD was taking us to Liberia, Africa, where over two years, 3 small children would be added to our family....children who were sick, close to death, starving, stuck in one of the longest African wars, living in refugee camps.  I always wanted to adopt again from the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach (and they NEED families!!!), and after bringing our children home from Africa we looked again into domestic adoptions and we found out that Colorado has a rule called “8 is Enough.”....meaning the state would not allow us to adopt domestically because of our family size and we could not even do foster care within our state now.  At one point, we had been able to do temporary foster care, however, our family size made that impossible now.  
After this, we found out that a door was opening for us to adopt from Ethiopia.  And now, precious Keshawn Lee is home.  Why, because he was on a waiting list, just needing his family to come. 
So, Steve and I continue to pray, as we do not feel that the LORD is through with adding to our family.  And though we never planned to adopt from so many different countries, I am continually amazed and thankful that the LORD had/has such an awesome journey for our family.  And I really am in awe of the fact that when I sit at my table, so many different nations are sitting there with me, but we aren’t strangers, we are family!!! Surely, this is only a small glimpse of Heaven with the Father of all Nations!!!!  I will always be grateful to a brave birthmother and the USA for my Corbin Samuel!!!

And I feel compelled to advocate for the boys at this point. We have been blessed with 5 daughters and I will always be thankful for that!!!!
However, most of our sons are home because they were waiting for one reason only - they were boys. So whether it is domestic or international, I ask you to consider the waiting boys in ANY country. Wow, are they precious!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

There Once Was A Little Girl...

...who loved the mountains so much that she left her home in Texas to move to Colorado where she could be closer to them. 
Besides being in love with the mountains, this girl loved children and couldn’t wait to be a mommy.  The Lord provided the perfect man to become her husband who also loved the beauty in the mountains and the blessing of children. 

For 21 years now we have enjoyed special family time in the Rocky Mountains. As more children were added, we just adjusted what we did so that we could all be together.
Bigger vehicles and larger tents were filled with little people anxious to explore the wonders of nature and enjoy special family time.  Warm sleeping bags were bought and a port-a potty added (to keep mama happy in the middle of the night). 
For Christmas' and birthdays we ask for camping things so that we can continue to go up in the mountains together.
The Bible says “From Your lofty abode You water the mountains, the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your work.” (Psalm 104:13).  I want my children to experience His nature for explore and wonder, to see and smell, to touch and delight in it all. 
We are asked often “Isn’t it a lot of work to go camping with so many children?” As I shared in the 
O.K. sooooo...” post, YES! It is.  And we have had some difficult things happen (which, sorry that I wasn’t clear in that, all those hard things didn’t happen all on this last camping trip. They have happened at different times over the last few years.)
So, why do we do it?
These smiles....
Their joy....
These little explorers...
Boys being boys....
Mommy and her little darlin’s enjoying so much adventure.
 When we meet people in the mountains and they say “Wow, we can’t believe that you are up here with all of those children”, I usually just smile and say “Yes, it is very special that we can bring our children up here to enjoy the beauty of the mountains”.
And it is worth it all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

O.K., Sooooo...

It is so late, but I really wanted to say....
Ya’ll are so funny!!! Yes, after playing in a mud hole, I hosed the children off in a COLD Colorado hose and told them;
“I know you don’t understand this right now, but this is for your own good, and I am building an amazing amount of character quality in you?”  At which point, freezing and with chill bumps up and down their little bodies, they really didn’t care about their character....
And really, I didn’t care to much about character quality either, it just sounded like a good line at the time and I need them at least partially de-mudded so that I could bath them in the bath tub.
And, I think some of them bought it!
A mother does what she has to do!!!
We had a wonderful weekend camping and I thought this might be a great time to answer a question that we hear fairly regularly...
“Isn’t it a lot of work to go camping with so many children?”
The answer is a huge Texas size (cuz I’m from Texas, and you know, we have BIG attitudes LOL), YES!!!!
So, why would we do it? 
Obviously, we get to spend great family time together, even if that does mean; burning a hole in our tent while we were setting it up in the dark WHILE it was raining; the port-a-potty overflowed and we are thankful that our sons' pillow absorbed it and kept it from his head; another child ate to many “goodies” and threw up in the middle of the night-all over EVERTHING; another child peed threw jammies and sleeping bag and had to sleep with me the rest of the night since he couldn’t use his sleeping bag, dog throw up, stomach flew in the wilds (yea, that one almost sent me to an asylum); rain and mud in a tent, 9 wet children, oldest son practicing with he ax-which bounces off the tree stump and cuts a hole in our tent; Steve had to put me up in a hotel because I was so sick, while he went back to the camp to take care of our children and I begged the front desk for Tylenol or to call 911;
O.K., soooo
why do we do it?
Well, I am to tired to finish this post, so I will have to continue it tomorrow. 
P.S. another question we get is why we don’t adopt domestically....I will also answer that this week.
Loves to all,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What If It’s 100 Degrees And You Don’t Have A Swimming Pool?

Your first must pray for a really heavy rain.

Then you thank the LORD for the rather large dip in your drive way.

Add one cute baby, and...    (wait for it...)

Other’s will come!!!

There were two, but I knew, it wouldn’t be long!!!

And suddenly there where three!  Well, when you give one child a mud hole to play in, he will probably ask for...
his/her swim suit, and with all that fun, well....

others will probably want to join in. So now six little children enjoy childhood fun. 
And my question to you, is, if you let 6 children play in a mud hole for several hours,
what do you think will happen next?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Heart Knows!!

“Someone” was very glad that the green blanket was back....
...And I’m pretty sure that he missed the sweet sister that was inside of it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Courage To Love

''God's love holds us to the highest. This was the kind of love Amy Carmichael of India prayed for and taught to the children on Dohnavur--this love, the kind wherewith God loved us. "Hold one another to the highest," she told them. God's purpose was to lift us out of ourselves, out of the miry clay, and set our feet on a rock. We are not saviors, but we can help others toward faith. This means not only loving them while they're still in the mire, but loving them out of it. We must love them as they are and love them enough to draw them higher.'' Taken from Elisabeth Elliot

Courage to love....we all have that challenge before us.  As a mom I have needed courage to love a child when is was hard. Jace has needed the courage to meet and love new siblings who don't know him yet.  I have watched many precious children come home through adoption...what a great amount of courage is needed to love a child you haven't met yet, and then courage for the child to trust and love a new and unfamiliar family.  
The kind of love that the LORD ask of us will lift us out of ourselves. One reason that we must hold ourselves to this highest level of love is that it can become so easy to “love” with an expectation of what we may get in return.  As a mother who has welcomed 8 children into my home through the miracle of adoption, I have often reminded myself to be sure that I am loving them without expectation of anything in return.  Several of them have come home with their little hearts in “mire”.  If I am expecting them to attach to me, or give me love or respond in some way that makes ME feel good, then I am really putting my needs or wants above theirs. Then I pray and ask the LORD to forgive me for my self-focus, and I ask Him to help me love them with HIS love.  
-Will I have the courage to love without asking for or expecting anything in return?
-Will I have the courage to love others as they are; love them enough to draw them higher and towards faith in the LORD?
The LORD will give me the ability to love like that when I receive His love for me.  What an amazing amount of freedom I find when I receive His love (not expecting what I want, but receiving what is better!!!).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” I John 4:7
So let the lovin’ begin.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Friends that Feel LIke Old Friends!!

For some time I have loved getting to know Jodi over our blogs, and what a fun thing to find out that she was going to be in Colorado!!!
We met at a park in town and it felt like meeting an old friend.

We also met some other fun friends.   What a great day.

Kalyn will be home later tonight.  We are all looking so forward to seeing her again!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weird Metal Spike Balls and Court

Aren't these metal sculptures fun?!  The children loved playing with them. These works of art where next door to the court house where we spend time this morning finalizing Keshawn's adoption. He is now a HASSOLDT!!!

The judge was a very sweet lady.  She really involved the children in the process and they thought that was cool. They each even got to hammer her very special gavel. 

After our "day in court", the children and I toured the Pioneer Museum that was next door.  We don't get downtown very often and the children convinced me with "we can count it as school Mom".  What smart children!

This last picture is Keshawn holding Caresse's hand as we were leaving the court.  When I look at it, I think, "This is why it is worth it all."  Someone to walk the roads of life with...a family.  Always there for each other, leading, following, helping, loving.  I know that our family seems big to many, but to us, it seems just right.  We are growing and learning together how to live for the LORD's glory.  Isn't it a lot of work?  Yes and No would be my answer.  On one hand, we do work hard, however, the "work" is good work as we learn to love and serve each other.  On the other hand, no it isn't harder because work is so much easier and so much more enjoyable when you have others with you.  
And the older children learn the joys of guiding little feet that are following them.  Those little feet need not walk alone now.  Those little hands are never empty now.  Those little heart's never have to face the future alone again.  Fears, dreams, hopes, and thoughts are shared and respected in their daily lives. 
Yes, there is the reality of screaming and arguing.  Even now, two of them are sitting in a quiet time beside me.  And what are they learning...that we respect each other and Mommy.  So, I look at the above picture in all of it's romantic-ness...
and I know that it is worth it. 
They have each other.  They have a family.  And that is one precious gift!!! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Love Is So Cute

It was so fun to take pictures of Jace and Karlie under mom and dad's trumpet vines that was in bloom.  It really does hang over this beautiful door out side.  What can I say....these children are so darn cute!!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What An Adventure!

What a time Caresse and I had in Texas. After our 10 hour drive we arrived safely to my parents home.  The next morning EARLY, we were on our way to the hospital for mom's surgery. We knew that it would be a difficult and painful surgery and it was.  After 4 1/2 hours the dr. felt very proud to have removed the broken titanium rod and replace it with a new hip prosthetic.  We were all so grateful (especially mom and dad!!!!) to have this surgery behind them and we are all hopeful that she will be off crutches for the first time in 3 years!  We are all praying for a wonderful recovery and strength to return to her leg. 
Jace and Karlie came from Dallas.  Jace is an amazing cook and he and Karlie provided breakfast and supper for us each day, except one when Caresse made us yummy Blueberry muffins. Jace and Karlie also spent time doing fun things with Caresse so that she wouldn't have to sit in the hospital to much.

On the 3rd, we were able to Skype with Kalyn in Mexico and sing happy birthday to her.  That was so amazing to see her and hear her from so far away.  Things where they were became dangerous, so they had to fly out Monday and they are all safely in the USA again. 

It rained for three days and on the 4th it flooded in the city where my parents live.  Their house overlooks a lake and all of the docks were under water.

The dam to the other side of the lake was blocked off because it was too dangerous to cross.  

The boats just floated above the docks that you can't see here.

Jace, of course, found a fun flooded road to splash through. 

We had to crossed this flooded section of the road to get to the hospital where mom and dad where. I followed Jace in my little car and prayed!!!

We made it to the hospital and had a celebration party for my parents 51st Anniversary. 

And guess who is feeling TONS better...yes, my sister (in-law), Karla.  Thank you all for your prayers. We are all thanking Jesus.  She has not felt good since before December. It was so nice to get to spend time with her.
We are back home safely and Keshawn is pretty mad at me for being gone.  I am trying to make up with him...LOL. 
I had a dr. appointment this morning and need to go to therapy for a very painful sciatica pain in my back and leg. 
And Kalyn will be back home this weekend.  
I was so glad to get to be with my parents and other family. 
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