Friday, November 30, 2007

DNA News/New Baby Pictures

Hi Everyone:

News is that our 2nd DNA test was performed at the first of this week. Results should be back to the embassy by the first to middle part of next week, and then the US Embassy will issue our "pink" slip with our appointment date and time. We anticipate the travel to occur within 9-12 days of the issue of our pink slip. So, that puts us with an estimated time to leave of 12/14-12/17. Please continue to pray for a speedy "pink".

Our Social Worker went to Guatemala last week with another family who was traveling to pick up their little one. She was able to spend some time with Sarah Beth, and reports that she is pulling up, which means the walking won't be far behind. How exciting! Whew, I've got some serious baby proofing to do around here. Also, she says that she is pleasant, seemed to get along well with the other children, etc... Here are some of the pictures she took for me!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pondering the ways of God

Hi to everyone,

I never cease to be amazed at how many of you there are who seem to be following us in this amazing journey of faith we call life. Many of you, whom I have never met, faithfully read this blog to learn what's going on in our little piece of the world. Welcome again, I'm so glad you are here.

Awhile back, Todd and I were talking and I was telling him then (and I know you guys in our Sunday School class have heard me say this already) that according to our timeline, it looks like Sarah Beth will be coming home at around 13 months of age. So what's such a big deal about that?

Our first child Kathryn Grace, died when she was 13 months and 15 days old.

I am absolutely amazed at the fact that God would work these details out in such a way that He would show Himself so amazingly clear to us - in all of our paths as He so beautifully directs our steps. "A man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

We have never doubted that this was what we were supposed to do, at just this time in our lives. We have every certainty that God created Sarah Beth and placed her in Guatemala for the sole purpose of directing our steps to travel many miles to bring her home to our family, but the amazing "little" detail of her age makes this even sweeter to me. I feel as though He is redeeming for us the days we've lost in such a precious way that has made us draw even closer to Him.

The same God who created the heavens and the earth, and who loves us intimately has seen fit in His awesome wisdom to show Himself strong and faithful throughout my life. And, this child of God stands completely in awe of HIM. I just wanted all of you who read this to know that.

Indeed, I, like David, can say -
"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; that my soul may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to Thee forever."
Psalm 30:11-12

As if it weren't enough that He gave us our precious 2nd child, Anna Kate and healed her through the miracle of open-heart surgery, He has indeed blessed us again. May I always be anxious to give Him praise, and never silent about His amazing love.

If any of you have stumbled across this blog, by "accident", please know that you've arrived here for a reason. If you do not personally know Jesus Christ (not just know about Him), I would love to introduce you.

God's richest blessings to you all as you prepare to celebrate the season of Christ,

Monday, November 26, 2007

On the Home Stretch!!

Well, it seems that we are on the home stretch! I got news today that our new birth certificate and passport for the baby have been issued, and the authorization has been given to take the 2nd (and final) DNA test!

What's next? As soon as they draw the DNA test, it will be sent to the United States for processing to verify that this is in fact the same child intially tested when we accepted our referral. The 2nd DNA test does not involve the birth mother. I do not know a date for when the test was scheduled, but it could be any day now!!!

Once that's done, I understand that it takes about 1 week to get the results back to the US Embassy in Guatemala. After they receive the results and review them, they will issue our "pink slip" giving us the date and time of our Embassy appointment!

We will be having a baby very soon! Thanks to you all for your continued prayers and support, don't stop now...

My next update, will hopefully be to let you know that we are "PINK!!!"

Now, if we just had a baby...

Well last weekend we finished getting everything ready for the baby's room. This past weekend, I've begun washing clothes, blankets, and other baby things preparing for the arrival of our newest little one.

Being that it's been nearly 11 years since I did this last, it has been exciting, frustrating and sometimes overwhelming. How many diapers does a baby need per day? What the heck do they eat when they are 1 year old and have about 6 teeth? How many outfits should I pack to make sure she has enough clothes while we're there? I can't seem to remember these little details, and there are so many much larger details I simply must remember to pack - documents for the embassy, on and on it goes.

Anyway, I am sure it will all come back to me when the time arises, and I'll make do just fine. In the meantime, if you can think of anything I need to know, kindly remind me :O) !

Enjoy the pics of the babies new room. It's in my favorite color "green apple" green and white gingham with white polka-dots. The walls are a nice yellow, and we've got a fun child's border at the top of the room that's in pink, green, blue, yellow and white. This was once Anna's playroom when she was smaller so it is bright and cheery. The colors in the photos don't seem to transfer very well, but at least you can get the idea.

Continue to pray that we hear good news soon about our 2nd DNA test.

God bless,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

When Queens Ride By

Hello Everyone:

I just wanted to let all of you ladies know about an absolutely amazing short essay you simple must read, and I'm sure even a few of you men would enjoy this wonderful tale. It is called When Queens Ride By. Simply splendid - you won't be disappointed! I was planning to buy the little booklet, when I found it printed free online.

Click the link below to read, it'll only take a couple of minutes.

In Him,

Monday, November 19, 2007

¡feliz cumpleaƱos!

Hello everyone:

Well tomorrow (the 20th) is Sarah Beth's first birthday. I hate that we are going to miss the official day, but we will most certainly have to have a celebration for her when we get her home. I figure we've got a New Year's, Valentine's Day, an Easter, a 4th of July, a birthday, 2 Thanksgivings and 1 Christmas we've missed celebrating with her in our family, so we'll just have to have one big Celebration blowout and invite everyone to join us and meet the new arrival once she's home! How's that sound?

I am going to put a picture or two here of her that the Allums family was so gracious to take for us on their recent trip to see their amazing little guy. He is gorgeous by the way! Check out their blog in my links section if you haven't already. I have seen his Momma's heart for the Lord so I'm wondering, hm, maybe Stephanie and I should start thinking ahead now about a possible arranged marriage??? Just kidding.

Anyway, here are two pictures for you, one of her with her birthday package and one of her with her 1st birthday crown on her head.

Love to you all,
P.S. For those of you who don't know any Spanish, the title feliz cumpleanos is "Happy Birthday" in Spanish. Even I knew that! See it does pay to watch Barney with your kids after all. As if the "Clean up" song wasn't benefit enough! :O)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Health Update and New Pictures!

Hi everyone:

Just got the health update and pictures for November. Sarah Beth is now weighing in at a whopping 20 pounds 9 ounces, and is 28 inches tall. (Oh my aching back, I can just imagine what a shock it's going to be carrying her around all the time!) Which reminds me, please be praying for me about that. I am still in physical therapy 2 days a week from the car wreck I had in July and I'm still having a LOT of trouble with my neck and back as a result of that "little" fender bender.

The "other comments" were that she is well, (Hallelujah!) sitting up by her herself and crawling around. It is good to see those milestones hit even though they are markedly behind what we would hope for here in the US. I am confident she will catch up when she gets home. She's going to have a big sister and a little puppy to run from around here! :O)

I'm posting a couple of the pictures we received this month too. She's getting so big! Keep praying that we get our 2nd DNA test out of the way and the new birth certificate and passport issued quickly. Then, we are just waiting on the coveted "pink" slip!


Are you desperate for God?

Recently I read a book that I found encouraging and uplifting and filled with Godly wisdom. The book caused me to ponder many things. Among them - am I truly desperate for God? Do I really desire to see His will worked in and through my life in EVERY area, regardless of what it means I must do? Am I willing to die to myself and my "plans" to live as Christ? Do I want nothing more than I want to be His child, His friend, His servant? Is there anything in this world that I seek to attain or achieve more than pleasing Him? Do I turn a blind eye to what I know His word says, so that I can continue on doing other things? Do I think that the Bible is full of wonderful suggestions?

The truth is, I want nothing more than to serve my King and my God. I want to please Him in every area of my life. I do seek to know Him more each day. That's led me to study even further! What is His plan for me, for my family, for Christian's in particular, and Christian women specifically. I do believe that God's Word addresses this, and not as mere suggestions of how we might want to live, but as directives, guidelines and commands of how we should spend our days on this earth.

As you can tell from my information concerning this blog, I am at Home For Him. Have I always wanted to be at home? No. Have I always enjoyed being at home? No. Are there days when I would love nothing more than to go to some flashy job, wearing a really nice expensive new outfit, earn a paycheck so I can feel as if someone appreciates what I do, get the occasional accolades from a boss? Sure. But is that what God's word says I'm supposed to be doing?

Now, before you jump ship and start surfing elsewhere, let me ask you (if you are a Christian), do you desire to know God deeply, to obey Him in all things, to do His will and His work in your life? If you do, I challenge you to study His word as it relates to every area and every decision in your life, because I gaurantee you He speaks to it in His word.

Lately, I have spent hours digging to discern if what I'm doing in every area of my life is in fact God's call for me. My relieved answer is a resounding YES, as best I can tell! Certainly there is more that God has not shown me yet, but in the areas He has revealed Himself, I am doing all I know to do to obey Him. I hope and pray with all that is within me that on that great day of the Lord, I will not need to be ashamed, but rather will hear those beloved words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I do not believe that we are to read God's Word and then each of us just do what's "right for you". God speaks directly to all people in all times and His Word is always relative to your life. Will obeying God always be easy? Of course not!

Years ago, when I first went from working full-time to working part-time, my husband's after tax income was a whopping $15,000 a year. Did we survive. Yes! Did we always have our needs met? Yes! Did we have everything we wanted? Of course not, but so what! Life lived for God is not about having what you want, it's about serving your God in the place where He's put you, and doing it faithfully and happily. I believe God's Word teaches that as a wife, my first responsibility is to help and serve the needs of my husband. I realize in today's world this sounds archaic, but it was established in the beginning for heaven's sake. Before the fall, so don't even try to use that arguement :O) ! I have to constantly remind myself that I was created to be my husband's helpmate, not the other way around! (Genesis 2:18) His second purpose for me is to train my children so that they honor their God and their father. (Duet 6:5-9) I am to be busy about keeping my home (Titus 2:3-5), and exhorting other women to do the same (which is what I'm trying to do here). I am to be willing to care for the needs of others who need help, after the needs of my own family have been met (Proverbs 31:20). The list of what I am supposed to be doing goes on. Is it a thankless job to make sure everyone has clean underwear ready to wear when they need it? Sometimes, but it is a wonderful feeling to know that the needs of my own have been met, at my hand. Why does God command these things? So that the Word of God may not be blasphemed (Titus 2:5). What does that mean? It means something, and If you're not sure what, I implore you to study to figure it out.

I understand that some women "need" to work, but the line between need and want has become extremely gray. Women who need to work are single mother's, women with husband's who are disabled, or those whose husbands insist that they work (we are called to be obedient to them too you know) etc... But, Ladies, there is no such thing as "Christian" Feminism, feminism is all about "me" and getting what I "deserve". God help us to see this, and to understand that being a Godly woman or man is about dieing to self to live to Christ. It's about embracing His call on our lives.

Recently my husband and I were driving through a subdivision during the day to go look at a job he was working on (we own a plumbing company). The greatest sadness overwhelmed me as I looked at all of these big, beautiful homes that were empty. No one there caring for them, no one there enjoying them, everyone - gone to work to help pay for them, kids in daycare, subdivision barren - except for one or two homes. I must ask, what is the purpose of a big, beautiful, empty most of the time house? I just really don't get it.

I know that I come from a different mindset than most, having lost one of my children early in my life, but I vowed then that I would never own anything that forced me to work outside my home and away from my children (who I'll only have for a short time anyway) again. I would go back to my doublewide mobile home in a minute, if that's what it took for me to be home with my children, and do it gladly.

It is a full-time job raising children, and caring for the needs of your husband, and those in your community or extended family who need you. There are seasons for all things (Ecclesiastes 3:1). What season are you in? God does have certain expectations of all believers, are you studying dilligently to know what they are? Or, do you go headlong into implementing your own plans, and dragging God along behind you hoping He will bless it and work through you in your disobedience? OUCH. I've been there!

You know how people sometimes say that when God shuts a door, He opens another one? Well, Todd used to say that you could tell when I'd been at the door because of the claw and hatchet marks left from me trying to get it open. I have been well known for going my own way and hoping the Lord would get involved and bless what I'd decided I should be doing. Haven't we all? I haven't heard my husband say that about me in a really long time, I hope that means I'm getting better in that area. :O)

Being committed to being at home, in our day and age, is a difficult thing at best. Even my Christian sisters often do not value what I am committed to. The first few years of being at home were very lonely and trying for me, why was God calling me to something that so many other Christians didn't see as necessary? All of those things plagued me for years, but it was because my heart was still divided. I missed working and having my ego stroked by a boss and a paycheck. I was not yet fully convinced that what I was doing was right and valuable. Now, my heart is at home, and whether anyone ever thanks me for what I do here or not, I know that I am being obedient to what I believe God has called me - as a Christian wife and mother - to do.

The book I recently read was Passionate Housewives Desperate for God - Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker. If you are a woman at home, I encourage you to read this book. If you are a woman who is confused about what God's word says on the matter, this book will certainly help you to sort things out, but be ready to be obedient to what God tells you.

If you are a sister who truly "must" work outside the home, God bless you, I know that your's is a sometimes exhausting and stressful situation. Mine is too, but in a different sort of way.

Here's a quote I found interesting, from a woman named Dorothy Patterson.
"Of course, much of the world would agree that being a housekeeper is acceptable as long as you are not caring for your own home; treating men with attentive devotion would also be right as long as the man is the boss int he office and not your husband; caring for children would even be deemed heroic service for which presidential awards could be given as long as the children are someone else's and not your own."

How sad is that, the double standards by which we live in our society? If you are a woman at home, this book will bless your socks off, and give you a new vision for who you are in Christ and what you are called to do.

God bless you for sitting through my ramblings,

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Paperwork Continues!

Hi Everyone:

I am amazed at the show of support we've had from friends and family, and even strangers!

The mound of paperwork continues as we begin to compile all of the things we will need to take with us to the appointment at the US Embassy. Please pray for me for clarity of thought as I try to get it all together, and that I will be organized! I know many of you who know me think I'm already too organized, but staying that way is extremely difficult for me. It is something I have to work at constantly! My inner slob desires to come out, all the time :O) !

I have added another family to the list of those we've "met" online who are also adopting from Guatemala. Their little one is in the same orphanage that Sarah Beth is in. I know some of you Sunday School friends have become "Guatemala adoptive family blog stalkers!" So, enjoy!

The Allum's should be settled into Guatemala on their visit trip. They are the ones who were taking the birthday package to us for SB, who's birthday is next Tuesday. I hate we are missing her first birthday, but I've had to resign myself to the fact that although we are missing many firsts, there will be many more once she is home.

Sorry, no pictures for November yet, hopefully we will have them before too much longer, the month is almost halfway over!

Love to you all,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WE'RE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is official, we are OUT of PGN!!!!

Just got the call from our Social Worker with Lifeline. I didn't even think to ask her what day we exited, but must have been at the first of this week, because we checked in on Friday of last week.

Anyway, we are offically the new parents of a precious little Guatemalan, soon to be American immigrant, angel!

The next big step is to get the PINK slip from the embassy (so named because of the color of paper it is issued on).

Here are the final steps to our process: (Honestly, I am not sure of the exact order of all this, but here's what will have to happen before we can go to get her.)
1) The Lawyer has to go to pick up the documents from PGN. (This is the step which needs the most prayer, as he has been slow getting things done in other areas of the process.)
2) The new birth certificate will be requested and will take about 2 weeks to recieve. This is issued with her given first and middle name and our last name. (We will then do a simple "readopt" in the state of Alabama once she's home to change her name to Sarah Beth.)
3) The US Embassy will request a second DNA test. The baby is the only one tested this time, and it's to insure that the child is the same one originally tested. This also takes a couple of weeks for them to get back.
4)Once the USE has all of this, they will issue our appointment to pick up her up and get her VISA. This is what's known as "getting PINK".
5) She will need to see a physician before entering the US to insure that she does not have any contagious diseases, etc...
6) During all of this other stuff, the lawyer will apply for her passport.

All of these things can happen in as little as 4-5 weeks to as long as 6 or 8.

Please pray that they happen on the short end and we have her home before the end of the year! The Embassy will be closed the entire week of Thanksgiving and the entire week of Christmas which will cause delays for everyone. And of course, all of us anxious parents would love to have them home for Christmas.

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and support. It shouldn't be long now! I'd better get busy getting that room ready!

To those of you waiting for your little ones, God bless you, I know how hard it is. But, it really does finally happen!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Old Paths

Hello Everyone:

Sorry, I don't have any news yet from PGN. If we've not gotten an update by Friday, our Social Worker will be contacting PGN for us again then to see if we are OUT yet. Please keep praying.

In the meantime, my father-in-law sent me this little writing today and I wanted to share it with you all.

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married
BEFORE having children!
Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.
Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.
Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.
Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.
People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!
Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.
Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.
The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!
We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house.
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!
Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because
they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.
Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!
Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.
God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected..
Church was where you found Christians
On the Lord's day, rather than in the garden,
On the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.
I still like the old paths the best!

'The Old Paths' was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.
(I have not personally verified this fact. But whomever wrote did a good job.)

I emailed him back with the following message...
It made me think of a verse in Jeremiah that I love.

Jeremiah 6:16
"Thus says the Lord, ' Stand in the ways and see,
and ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.'
But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' "

I'm afraid our generation is much like that in Jeremiah's time, many have indeed said, "We will not walk in it."