Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
So I wanted to write a little bit more about Miss Abbi Grace! Abbi is in an orphanage in Shanghai China. Unfortunately for us Shanghai does not give many updates about their children so I may not get too much more information like I did with Nina. Fortunately though, I was able to connect with a facebook page with other moms who are going or who have gone to Shanghai to get their kiddos, so they may be able to meet Abbi and hug her for me! She is 3 and will be 4 in January.
She has severe hearing loss in her left ear and mild hearing loss in her right ear. She also has a hemangioma on her liver. Along with these other needs she has mild hemiplegia on her right side, but from her video seems to get a long just fine. Because of her hearing loss it says she is not speaking, but being in a family of girls, I am sure she will catch up pretty fast once she starts her therapies.
We can not WAIT to bring her home and make her a Noll! I have no doubt she will fit right in!
It is going to be a journey watching God move mountains to raise the funds but we know He is able and I can't wait to watch all of the people He uses to make it happen!
And only 5 more days to buy a shirt to bring her home!!!! Go here to buy it! It Is Here!
Here is a little video for your Abbi viewing pleasure ;)
Thank you and God bless!!!!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
So without further adieu I present you with our shirt that will hopefully help lead the way into our fundraiser efforts to bring our Abbi Grace home to her forever family!!!!!
My favorite part--look closely in the word LOVE!!! Awesome right?!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Sooooo...that is that. I am excited that we will be starting Speech Therapy with her this Monday because I know that sweet girl wants to speak so much more than we can understand! And after a hearing test we learned that she may have mild hearing loss. We are not too concerned about that since we know she seems to be hearing us fine.
This girl is a FIGHTER! A sweet fighter guised by her sweet smile and contagious giggle! And even more than all of that-Her Heavenly Father loves her more than Gold! I can not WAIT to see what He has in store for her!
As far as things in our new adoption world...we are starting up and getting our first fundraiser going!!! I can't WAIT to show you all what is coming!!!! I'll give you a hint...it is something that can help you sport your support for Abbi! ;)
Keep an eye out for our next blog post...we will have our big reveal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love you all!! Thank you ALL for your AMAZING support in our new journey to Abbi!!!!
Here's a few adorable pictures of the little's and what has been happening around here...
|Levi really concentrating of writing|
|Nina LOVES dressing up! So beautiful!|
|Isac working on his letters!|
|First day of Co-Op for my kiddos-they LOVE it!|
|Jumping on the trampoline our neighbors gave us-Nina LOVES jumping!|
|Isac loving on Nana and Papa's puppies|
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
That is the life I want to lead. A life that is ready and willing to be one of the GREATS! I don't want to be remembered. I could really care less of the legacy I leave behind as being one of the greats, because that fades. Another hero will always rise, another person will always do something greater, that is just the way history works. I want to be a great because I want to know I was willing to give all to God.
I know some think (I have been told) us adopting more kids would take away from our family dynamic. How could we enjoy our family if we have so many kids? The only answer I have to that is my joy is found differently than it once was. It doesn't look the same as it once did. It is seeing my second child take it upon herself to teach her younger sister, just adopted, how to write, just because she wants to see her learn. It is in seeing my third daughter laugh with her new sister and tell me how much she loves being a big sister to her because they both love to giggle and Nina didn't have that before. It is watching Levi step it up to try and build a relationship with Nina and Isac that I have never seen him try and build before, all on his own. It is seeing my oldest cuddle with her new baby brother and read him a baby book. It is in watching my Nina learn the simple things that come so easily for all of us and LOVE the praise that comes with it. It is in watching Isac rest so easily in Josh's arms because he feels his love.
Getting there wasn't easy. Just like Moses I tried making every excuse I possibly could, but I KNEW God was calling us in a direction that I needed to go to. And I did not want to miss what HE had in store for us!
And...He is calling us again!!!!!!
Again, I tried making every excuse I could. I mean this time I've got good ones Lord! Things with Nina are still working themselves out. We are starting the process to move since we knew we were going back eventually, we need to be in a home that will fit our growing family. "Please God, I am willing but not now! What will people think?!"
I wrestled with this A LOT! But in the end, I saw her face, and in my heart I knew for some reason God was telling me,"this sweet girl just can't sit there any more...are you willing?"
"But God there are so many waiting? Why her? Is this you or me? LORD I am willing but please answer me?"
And over and over I knew His response..."are you willing?"
Josh and I just laid it down. Prayed hard. And the next morning in church, our Pastor preached a series called "Whatever It Takes". One of his quote was;
In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
"Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.
Christians today like to play it safe. We want to put ourselves in situations where we are safe "even if there is no God". But if we truly desire to please God, we cannot live that way. We have to do things that cost us during our life on earth but will be more than worth it in eternity."
"We ended up moving into a house that was half the size of our previous home, and we haven't regretted it. My response to the cynics, in the context of eternity,was, I the crazy one for selling my house?Or are you for not giving more, being with your Creator more? If one person "wastes" away his day spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better thing to do then worship the Creator or Sustainer, who is the crazy one?" Francis Chan CRAZY LOVE
Being the parents of 7+ kids, some with special needs, will not and is not the easiest journey to live, and our kids may not have the memories of amazing expensive trips and vacations, but as a family we are making so many memories. IF there is one legacy I do want to leave my kids it is to live a life of denying self, taking up the cross and following Him. God DOES want us to have fun and enjoy life...but I guess it just depends what you consider joy...
No doubt Moses, Jesus and David didn't "enjoy" being mocked and persecuted...but their joy was not found in the things man thought of them. I pray we can live a life of a new kind of joy.
All of our joys will look different...God calls us to different things and has in different places in life, different journeys and different desires...this this where He lead us...this is where WE chose joy.
This is a video we showed our kids and family to announce our sweet Abbi.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
With Tuberous Sclerosis Complex there is usually one tumor in the brain that will seek out the other tumors and cause them to intensify the seizure activity, and the longer that one is allowed to continue, the less chance Nina would ever have at being seizure free as she grows and also her chances of developing mentally and behaviorally become less and less. So all these tests were to try and find that trouble tumor.
It was a loooong week but Nina's body did all the things it needed to do to help the doctors gather more info. We started her on a new drug on Tuesday night and I will say the child has not been the same since!!! We are still seeing seizures, but whenever we change up meds it takes a while till everything balances out and we know if everything is at the right dose. But the girl that used to laze around the house because she was so tired, and be super irritable in the morning and fight every meal, has now woken up happy and running and laughing and eating! She has become a little more difficult at times and definitely testing her boundaries, but that is what every NORMAL child does, so I'm happy to reteach her. :) We are basically starting over.
The way the TSC clinic works is now that they have done all the tests, in a few weeks they will meet as a team to go over all of Nina's tests and get ideas of what they think would be the best course of action is. Whether it is to keep trying just the medicine she is on, add a new one or start looking at brain surgery to remove the trouble tumor.
We also met with a neuro-psychologist while we were in the hospital. She did not do a huge evaluation, but based on what we told her and what she saw of Nina she told us she definitely thinks she is on the autism spectrum. We were given a script for occupational therapy, speech therapy and behavior therapy.
Time will tell what the future holds for our girl. She for sure is a fighter but I am so happy we get to see the spark come alive in her!
We also were amazed at the chances we had to share our adoption story with doctors nurses and the food staff! ;) We had SUCH a great team of people around us at the hospital and did not meet one person who did not love on our Nina and help us out as much as possible!!!! I know nurses sometimes get the bum end of the deal as they have SO much to do and if not everything is met people can be hard on them but they all did AMAZING!!!!! THANK YOU!
Thank you all who prayed and left comments-they truly got me through the week!!!!
Love you all!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
When we went to China we only saw Isac's orphanage-the one he spent less than half his young life in, and when we were there, despite them telling us we could have a tour, the tour began and ended with our trip down a dark hallway to get Isac. We saw no faces of children, no class rooms, no cribs, nothing. I have heard of many friends touring their own children's orphanages. They say the silence in some orphanages is eerie, a sign of children who know there is no purpose to crying for a need, a hungry belly, a dirty diaper or purely out of a need for comfort, because they learn quickly- no one is coming. They tell of crib after crib after crib of two or three children staring blankly at the ceiling, having no one to smile at, no one to engage them. Toddlers lined up on the floor, with toys all around them, but no one to teach them what to do with them, and all they do it rock, or bang their sweet heads on the floor, for any sense of feeling. They say the smell is strong, a mixture of soggy clothes and dirt, some orphanages with a lingering scent, some that would knock you over. The air is thick. And the children that are old enough to engage, are attaching themselves to your legs, wrapping their fingers around your legs looking at you with eyes pleading for you to see them, to love them, and choose them to take home. Some have seen enough prospective families or foreigners to know how to get their attention, how to be perfect and sweet enough to prove they are worthy of you taking them home. But some, some sit off in a room alone, away from the people who come to take someone else. They have seen enough to know this isn't their time. Some simply have been told Americans only want to make them be slaves so they truly do not want to be adopted. If you asked them they would say so, and if you took them to court to be adopted they would tell the judge no.This is their reality-for all of them. They fight to be stronger, they lie to keep safe, they manipulate to be loves, they steal to eat and inside they cry...to survive another day.
I did not see all of that. Part of me wanted to, to have some idea of the life Nina did grow up in, another part of me is happy with my naive version of the beautiful first floor of the orphanage they allow the adoptive families to see.
But truth be told...I see it everyday. I do not dwell on it, I do not look for it, and I wish with my whole heart I could forget it. But I still see it. Every moment someone tries to play with Nina and her immediate reaction is to pull away. Even Josh and I, have to be slow to coax anything from her fingers. We were told Nina was picked on a lot in the orphanage, so my guess is anything she had, she probably did not get to hold to for very long before someone older or bigger wanted it. Nina fights meals a lot. She ALWAYS wants to eat, if your in the kitchen, she is in the kitchen at your toes, but at the same time we are pretty sure she only had two meals a day, making one of those meals a fight. And if ANYONE gets too close when she is eating food, you better be ready to put up a fight because she is not playing when it comes to food. Like I said, she was picked on, probably had food taken often. There are still days when Isac has woken up in the middle of the night screaming his poor lungs out. I don't mean a sad, scared scream like any of our children. Like a scream you would hear coming from someone fighting for their lives! It breaks my heart that our son has 2 1/2 years of history I know nothing about. So when I hold him after he cries like that, I simply do not know how to make it better...because I can't. There are moments when Nina is in "time in" that she still rocks-her way of self soothing herself from years of having no one there to teach her she is loved, she does not have to face anything alone and she is safe. Nina HATES to have any one upset at her! The more upset any one is at her, even when it is simply a stern look, she is very very sad! She still fights for attention. While Nina doesn't do many things in extreme, we still see so many signs of wanting and longing for attention. If she sees her brother crying because he got hurt and getting a hug and kiss, she will start crying, if she sees mommy or daddy laughing at her sister because she is dancing funny, she will start dancing and laughing to get the same attention. She craves it and soaks it up! Those moments when I am rocking and cradling her to make up for our lost baby years-I see her look up at me with eyes that seem to have an under lining sadness of loss. The same is true for Isac, though I am sure he doesn't understand his loss, when he feels wronged or just really sad about something, sometimes it is hard to consul him, and the crying is different, as if there is an underlining sense of loss. All of these things have shown me what being abandoned and living life in an orphanage look like...and I see it daily!
And because of those things...I will NEVER be the same! I struggle daily for the children who are still left behind. In Ukraine, in China, in America, in Uganda and Ethiopia and India and all around the world!. My heart is always aching, always asking, when and if we should go back?! I know as long as I am able I will always say yes to God when it comes to bringing children into our homes.
I hear the excuses the world throws at us...how messy my house must be, how can you possibly hear yourself think. Isn't it too wild?! It is, there are times when I have to step outside and breath in and out, but I know parents with ONE who need that very same moment! My children LOVE each other! They play together! They accept each other! It doesn't matter if you have two or 20, your children must learn that of their siblings if they are going to show that to the world! It isn't always perfect love, but then I am still learning that myself! And depending on the children you are bringing into your family, it may take them some time to learn of this love and acceptance, it isn't always a perfect formula, but it is love. I know in America we have set rules as to how many children we should have in our home. I mean you just HAVE to pay for their college. And their weddings, FAR more important than any child lost without a future rotting in an orphanage right? And every child MUST have the childhood we never had-toys and trips-their own room and a full ride to college, and working through high school-now what kind of life is that for a child! I refuse to live by these rules. They are man made, NOT God made. HE wants a future of love hope and salvation for each one of His children. WE are His hands and feet! I no longer want to hear, "if God really loves them then why are they orphaned." Short and simple, we live in a fallen world where He gave us each free will, to not be puppets. To love Him freely of our own will. And many of us choose to not love Him. Many choose to kill their babies. some forced to abandoned because of others cruelty. But it is up to US to love on His children!
To get past our excuses and SEE Him moving in our lives through the lives of these children all over the world!
Monday, June 16, 2014
Well it took me some time but I finally got a video together of my two kids journey to us!!!! Hope you enjoy!
PRAYER REQUEST!!! Nina has her neurologist appointment tomorrow to go over all of her 48 hour EEG tests from a few weeks ago! Pray we get answers to get rid of her seizures! We did notice in the hospital during the tests that she was having some in her sleep, but it would be nice to know how many she is having that we don't see. It will be a long journey of trial and error with different medications till we find one that gets rid of all her seizures and doesn't have crazy side effects. And med changes are always hard on her emotionally and physically. It will be a long road but so worth it to see her sweet happy self again!
Hope your all having a great week!