Friday, April 29, 2011

So far on this adventure...

12 weeks...I cant believe how quickly the first trimester has gone by. They really do grow up so fast! So far my pregnancy experience has been relatively pleasant. I've only actually gotten sick a handful of times. Mainly my symptoms have been nausea and exhaustion. Being tired takes on a whole new meaning when your pregnant. Overall though I really feel completely blessed and thankful. A lot of my friends were sick every morning during their first trimester. That's just not something I have had to deal with. The whole pregnancy process has been very...surreal. Maybe surreal with a hint of denial. Even though we've been praying for this little life for awhile, I don't know that it has completely hit me that I am having a baby. I've totally got my head around being pregnant. I feel pregnant, I act pregnant, I'm starting to slightly look pregnant....I just don't think it's totally sunk in that pregnancy=baby. It will hit me at odd moments, like when I put my babys R us rewards card on my key chain. Oh my gosh, I have a baby's R us rewards card on my key chain! I had a moment when I saw a little baby at church the other day and when I was looking at a friends pictures of her newborn. I cant believe I am going to have one of those of my own. Half of Josh and half of me. Then of course there was the incredible moment when we saw the ultrasound at 8 weeks. That was such an amazing, tearful, indescribable moment. That little heartbeat was possible the cutest thing I've ever seen. Even though I know it hasn't totally hit me yet, it's the little windows of clarity that make every bit of exhaustion and every nauseous moment absolutely completely worth it....because one day, very soon, there will undeniably be a pink little baby put into my arms. Even in my moments of surreal denial I cannot wait for that day.

Here's a list of what I've learned so far:

1) Apparently the most scientific and efficient way to measure an unborn baby is to compare it to fruit...which I think is histarical. Example: this week (12) our baby is a lime. :)
2) When one is pregnant your purse changes from a device to carry makeup, cell phone, and wallet to a....lunchbox!
3) A week after we found out I was pregnant apparently I was enlisted into some kind of Mommy to be Boot Camp...this is an intense program preparing my body to be a other words, I wake up every three hours at night.
4) Pregnancy does crazy things to your give you nose bleeds. Really? Nose bleeds?
5) Pregnancy does crazy things to your emotions...I spent a day crying because my puppy, Louie, turned two. They grow up so fast!
6) Pregnancy is contagious....i found out a friend, my moms step sister, and my favorite cousin are all pregnant and due within weeks of me. My mom says we must have all been "twitterpated" (Disney's Bambi reference.)
7) I have the most amazing husband in the world (it didn't really take pregnancy for me to learn that, its just been a great reminder.) He is very supportive of all my food cravings :) and he is going to be an incredible Dad.
8) The baby, affectionately know as "peanut" apparently hates grapes and blackberry cobbler w/ ice-cream.
9) A little tadpole/kumquat/lime/peanut can completely change your life. Having children will never hinder your life, they just enhance the adventure.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Proverbs 7

Proverbs 7

In a picture

In a word:


What I highlighted:

Proverbs 7:4-5
"Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding your kinsman; they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words."

Proverbs 7:21-23
"With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life."

What I journaled:

What do we partner with? What aspects of this world do we allow a living place in our life? We see in Proverbs this imagery of the beauty of knowing Wisdom and the folly and death that comes with knowing the world. As followers of Christ we should always be crying out for less of us and more of Him, for the un-honoring parts of our heart to be exposed. God loves the invitation to reveal the areas that distance us from Himself. I've been on this self-exposing journey or heart purification for quite some time. He is so gentle, so loving in how he reveals the areas that need to go. So what have we partnered with? What lie of the enemy have we bought into? What thing has become that idol? Revival starts with hearts of repentance that will yearn for Jesus more than for the things of this world.

My challenge:

As always....letting Him to work on my heart and reveal everything I have placed before Him.

My prayer:

God, bring revival to your church! Bring us to the place of repentance and give us a revelation of your Glory.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Justice for Kirill

Join me in interceding for this precious family...that Jesus would bring this baby home!

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Please feel free to share the following on your blogs. It is a summary of our adoption journey so far. Please help us spread the word. We are hoping somehow someone will be able to help us.

Two years ago Greg and I began praying for God to do whatever he wanted with our lives. We handed him a “blank check” so to speak, and told him to cash it. He opened our eyes to children with disabilities wasting away across the ocean in Eastern Europe. We joined God and started our adoption journey.

Our family is more than equipped to handle a child with special needs. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I am a member of the Board of Directors of Best Buddies of Alabama. I have volunteered for RISE and Eagles’ Wings. All of these organizations serve individuals with special needs. My husband I have close friends and family who have special needs and we are a big part of each other’s lives. Our wedding party included some of these special people. Our involvement with individuals with special needs led us to adopt a child with special needs; specifically, we chose Down Syndrome.

As we prayed over the faces of thousands of orphaned children with Down Syndrome, we ultimately chose a little boy named Sergey from Russia. Eight months later, as we neared the finish line of our adoption, one of Sergey’s family members in Russia stepped forward to adopt him. We were heartbroken for our loss, but God showed us that we were following him, and his ways are perfect. We knew we still wanted to adopt, so the way we saw it, two children would find homes because of our journey…Sergey went to his family and now we would choose another child to come into our family. We took great comfort in knowing that God could see this when we first committed to Sergey! We were honored to be a part of his plan.

Shortly after losing Sergey, we received a new referral with a grainy photo of a four-year-old blond-haired boy wearing pink glasses named Kirill. We were instantly in love with him. We had to re-file a lot of our paperwork because of the change in referrals and regions of Russia, but we were fast and we thought we were looking at three more months at the most until we would have Kirill home.

That was well over a year ago.

Since then so many things have happened. A tragic story of an adoptive mother sending her child back to his country alone on a plane with a note pinned to his shirt rocked our world…he was from Russia. Adoptions in Russia came to a screeching halt. Kirill’s region stopped processing adoptions for eight long months. The judge refused to accept any Amercian adoption cases until an official treaty was signed between the United States and Russia.

Even though we wouldn’t be able to finalize the adoption in court until the treaty was signed, we were allowed to go visit Kirill and sign our official petition to adopt him in August 2010. We fell more deeply in love with him. This was our son.

During that time, we found out that Kirill is the first child from his region EVER to be adopted with Down Syndrome. A birth mother keeping her child with Down Syndrome is unheard of in this area of the world. Adoptions of children with Down Syndrome just don’t happen there, these children are literally hidden away from society in orphanages and mental institutions. As our process continued, it became apparent that Kirill would be a pioneer. If our adoption was approved, it would pave the way for other children with special needs to be adopted from this region.

Then, a miracle happened around Christmas and the judge in this region suddenly changed her mind and began processing American adoptions again. We were elated.  Could this be the light at the end of a very long tunnel? I was somewhat nervous about Kirill being the first child adopted with Down Syndrome from his region, but our agency was very confident that if we got a court date, our adoption would be approved. In seventeen years, they had never had a case rejected IF the family was issued a court date. We were told not to worry, so I didn’t. After meeting the judge’s requests for several supporting court documents, we were finally granted a court date-March 17, 2011. St. Patrick’s Day…I was thrilled. This would be our new favorite holiday! Our son was coming home!

Our other son, Clayton, who had just turned three when we started this adoption process, has prayed fervently for his brother. He is now almost five. When we told him Kirill was coming home, oh my…we had an excited big brother on our hands! At one point he even went to his room, dumped out his toy cars and divided them into two stacks…one for him and one for Kirill.

Last week, as we sat in the courtroom and suffered through five agonizing hours of difficult questioning, we were not prepared for anything but an approval of our case. Two doctors, two social workers, and the Minister of Children’s Services all made very strong statements on our behalf. They fought for us. Hard.

But when the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome. She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down Syndrome. Even though we were approved by our home study and by the USCIS to adopt a child with special needs. It makes no sense whatsoever. Denying a child a family because he has Down Syndrome is a violation of human rights at its most basic level!

It was like a terrible dream. We were so unprepared for this outcome. As we left the courthouse in a mental fog, the doctors and social workers that had testified came to us and said, “If you appeal, we will fight for you. Appeal. Fight this decision.” Of course we were going to appeal…I could no more walk away from our biological son, Clayton, at this point. Kirill is just as much my son.

So here we are, asking God to move the mountain that is standing between Kirill and us as we appeal to the Supreme Court in Moscow. There are also three other families who are in various stages of adopting children with Down Syndrome from Kirill’s region; one of the families has a court hearing set for next week.

We are hoping that someone will hear our outcry and help us bring our son and these other waiting children home. His adoption will set the precedent for many other children in his region. There are 98 children in his orphanage with special needs alone. It is one of many orphanages in this region that houses children with special needs. This is about more than just one child, the lives of hundreds of children with special need are at stake.  Please help us.