Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Supergirl and a tough construction worker... what's wrong with this picture?




Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photos from the Past

Here are some photos that Aria's friend's mom sent me of her time in the orphanage. The little girl in the pictures with her, called "Shu Shu" at the orphanage, was Aria's closest friend until Shu Shu was adopted in 2010 by a family in America.

Aria is on the left. Notice her mismatched shoes. Shu Shu is actually a year younger than Aria, but she's about the same size as Aria, perhaps a bit bigger.



This time Aria is on the bottom. This is the longest I've ever seen her hair. Once again, notice her shoes. I'm thankful, though, that she even had shoes at all.



Now Aria is on the left again. She is about 2 years old in these pictures.


Little glimpses of our daughter's past, one that is filled with so many holes for us and for her. History is a precious, precious thing. We are so grateful to Shu Shu's family for capturing and sharing these moments in time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Processing

We're doing a lot of processing here in the Reickard household. And I mean a lot. China in and of itself was an experience to process. It has gripped us in ways we don't have words to express. Elliana has talked about China frequently since we have left. She desires to go back. She told me just the other day it's not a matter of if she goes, because she IS going back. She says she wants to be a missionary there, like our friend Laurie. Whatever Elliana decides to do, I love her heart and how God used China to soften it in so many ways over the people, over the orphans.

Of course, I must mention the reason why we went to China. We are excited for the opportunity to build our family through international adoption. But even more, we went there to save Aria. "Save" is not too strong a word. She was perishing there. Yes, she was fed. But not much, as her recovering malnourished body can attest to. Yes, she had caretakers. And they definitely seemed to love her. We are grateful for that. But that love, we think by the evidence we see now and what we witnessed in China, came in forms that were not healthy for Aria. Aria had her heart surgery in China, praise God. But her body is still very weak, in a condition that has nothing (according to our cardiologist) to do with her heart. And according to her tests, no medical reason can be found for her weakness. Aria's physical muscles are so weak I fight anger towards what must have been done to her in the orphanage to cause this. She falls down multiple times a day just because she does not have the strength to hold her body up all the time. Sometimes those falls aren't much of anything and she gets back up. Sometimes, like yesterday, she falls in such a way she gets hurt with a bad bruise or bleeding. I confess at times I fear for Aria in the state she is in now. She is so fragile, falling down seemingly with any resistance to her muscles. Aria was perishing in China. We see affirmation of that more and more every day. And that's just her physical state. With most everyone we met in China claiming to be "non-religious", we know her spiritual state was most definitely perishing.

Behaviorally, oh where do I begin? In some ways it's easier to not begin. Yet I blog. I blog because it's one way for me to process what is happening in our home, in our family, how God is working and teaching us. I also blog because of our passion for adoption. Once you adopt (similar to once you are a parent of a child that has died), you "involuntarily" sign up to be an educator to others. I came to peace with that during my heavy time of grieving after our son Kael died, and now we see being able to speak as one that has gone through it as such an opportunity of ministry. The role of educator is one we take seriously because we know with all our hearts our lives are not our own anyway. Keeping our lives completely to ourselves is a form of disobedience. We can share our lives in a variety of different ways. One of those ways we have chosen is to blog.

But back to behaviors... friends, it is not easy for me to share what we are dealing with in Aria's behaviors. Part of that is because we are still processing it. We see behaviors in her that I never in my wildest dreams could've imagined we would be facing. Some days the battle with her behaviors has me so spent that I can only process them in tears before God and my husband. Other days I think, wow, this isn't so tough. Those, of course, are days when the battles are few, progress is being made, and the bond grows exponentially. There are times I choose to share what we are facing with others, whether by asking for prayer over our situation or by answering the question "How are things going?" I try to answer that question honestly but also wisely. You see, not everyone "gets" the whole post-adoption thing. It's a unique time, it's a challenging time, it's a time that I could not even draw a parallel to if I tried. At times I have said too much to an individual, and what I know were meant to be words of love and encouragement were in fact salt on open wounds. There is no one size fits all for any of our kids, and the broken place adoptive children come from adds unique challenges to our parenting. We don't claim we know what we are doing. I can't even claim that with my biological daughter! We're making mistakes - many - along the way. But know this is a time of joy but also hurting in our home. My skin can be thick, but my heart is in pain. I hurt for Aria's broken past, I hurt for her present as we deal with the ramifications of her past, and quite honestly I am hopeful for her future but also unsure as to what it will look like. In my weaker moments I wonder if things will get much better. In my stronger moments I see God so clearly all over this child's life. This is a unique time in our home. And we are processing it.

So sometimes it's easier for me not to post. Because quite honestly I sometimes cannot even put into words what we're experiencing right now. Other times it's easier because I confess I am afraid to put myself out there too much, to invite salt to open wounds. Mainly, though, I haven't posted as much because my life just got busier plus one. And that one is our newest love, our newest joy, and our newest heartache. Processing as we go, our lives certainly have changed. Our eyes have yet again been opened to new truths God is revealing to us. Our hearts are broken all over again over what these orphans come from, their need to be saved, their need to be loved. Images from China haunt me, and what God is showing us about the people and orphans of Haiti shakes me to my core. Amidst all that life seems to go on as always, the world spinning, work happening, errands to be accomplished, chores to be done, school to be taught, meals to be made, buildings to be built, cars to be purchased, calls to be made. The world... keeps... spinning... And I'm still processing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aria's Friend Finds Us!

Last night we received an email from the orphanage that Aria stayed at. The email said there was an American family that had adopted a little girl from the same orphanage back in 2010, and she and Aria were good friends. They gave us the family's email address.

We immediately tried to contact the family via Facebook, and there we actually saw 2 pictures on their FB page of our daughter and their daughter at the orphanage together! It was a bit surreal to see those, but also gave us a wonderful sense of peace!

This family was very touched by Aria, remembered her, and in fact have been praying since they met her back in 2010 that she would find her forever family. Isn't it amazing how God works? We got one more little piece of her past revealed to us (and every little piece of the past for adopted children is a huge treasure to the family and to the kids!). We also found out that strangers on the other side of the United States have been praying for her to come home to us, her forever family.

Isn't that just the goodness and greatness of God?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Heart Will Sing No Other Name

video

The thing I love about this video is that only a couple of months ago, she never even HEARD of the name of Jesus.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Myths and Facts on Haiti's Adoption Program

I thought today I would try and write a little bit more about the Haiti adoption program. I decided to do this for two reasons. 1) It seems like A LOT of people we talk to are interested in this program, particularly since the devastating earthquake in 2010. We have been asked many questions about the Haiti program by a variety of people. And 2) There seems to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation out there about the Haiti program, including that they are still closed. Keep in mind, we are only just beginning the program and only know a tiny bit. But today I'd like to share the information that I do know.

Myth - Haiti is no longer allowing adoptions to occur since the earthquake in 2010.
Fact - Haiti did close the adoption program following the earthquake since many people were missing. They did not want to separate a child from parents that were searching for him/her. However, the Haiti adoption program has re-opened. This is a blessing because many more children became orphans due to the devastating earthquake 2 years ago. Right now there are approximately one million orphans in Haiti.

Myth - A family cannot adopt from Haiti if they have 2 or 3 children at home already.
Fact - Although it's possible some agencies may differ on how many children can already be in the home already to qualify to adopt from Haiti (I do not know), our current agency has a policy that you can have no more than 4 children in the home to qualify to adopt from Haiti.

Myth - You MUST be 35 years old to be able to adopt from Haiti.
Fact - The official Haiti law dictates that the prospective adoptive parent must be 35 or older. For married couples, one prospective adoptive parent may be under age 35, provided the couple has been married for ten years and has no biological children. That age requirement will enable an automatic requirement into the Haiti program. However, it is possible that these restrictions can be waived with permission from the President of Haiti. A word of caution here... according to the US Department of State, getting a waiver from the President of Haiti can be a long and lengthy process. This is something to take into consideration before moving forward with an adoption from Haiti.

Myth - All prospective parents must be married for 10 years to be eligible to adopt from Haiti.
Fact - If both husband and wife are over 35, they must be married for 8 years to get automatic eligibility. However, once again if that requirement is not met, a Presidential Waiver can be applied for.

Myth - Haiti's program is very restrictive in who they allow to adopt.
Fact - Every country, including the US, has basic requirements to fulfill in order to be eligible to adopt from them. The requirements can be different from country to country (and sometimes seem a bit odd, like South Korea's requirement of what prospective adoptive parents BMI can be!). But there are basic requirements to meet in any adoption program. This is where good research is important. A great place to start doing research about the various adoption programs is on Adoption.com or Loving Shepherd Ministries.

Chad and I have met all of the basic requirements to adopt from Haiti (with Kristin 2 years over 35 and Chad only 1 year over it - getting close to the big 4-0!), so we are automatically approved into the Haiti program. However, even if we didn't, there is a bit of wiggle room to still try to get into the program.

I hope this clears up any misinformation that exists about the Haiti adoption program. If you are interested further, we would be more than happy to talk to you! (If you haven't guessed, we love talking adoption!) We certainly don't know a ton of answers, but we have a great contact at our agency and some resources we can share that may be of help.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Update on Aria

Since Aria's many medical appointments, we have had great reason to rejoice in the many ways that her health has exceeded what we had expected. We have been getting back the results of her many blood tests as well as her stool tests. More reasons to rejoice - thus far everything but one has come back normal! The only issue that has been verified is one we were made known of in her referral; Aria is anemic. This makes sense with her leaky heart. And the good news is that she is not severely anemic. An iron supplement can help her levels get back to normal.

As far as other aspects of Aria's development and health, we have realized that Aria has a weak body, to say the least. She is very unstable on her feet and often falls down. She struggles going up the stairs. There are many tasks that should be quite simple for a child even younger than she is that she cannot accomplish, most involving areas of strength. The cardiologist suggested that we may need to see a neurologist and orthopedist if she continues to struggle. We've also had her see a physical therapist this past week. This was an informal visit with a family friend who is also by profession a physical therapist, Christie Klemish. After she had read some of our blog when we were in China, Christie saw a lot of red flags in the physical behaviors we described that indicated to her that Aria would highly benefit from physical therapy. We saw Christie, as I said on an informal basis. After having Aria do some basic skills with her muscle groups, it was confirmed that Aria is quite a bit behind where she should be with her movement and muscle development.

One that really surprised me and I hadn't noticed in day to day activities is that Aria cannot hold her head up when getting up from a lying down position without it flopping back. In other words, her neck muscles are very weak. Christie shared with me that this is a skill we learn at about age 1 or even younger. Another area that she found to be very weak is Aria's thighs. This is not a surprise to us as we see it in her every day movement. However, what did surprise me was Christie's observation that Aria is completely favoring one leg over the other. And when I had Aria go up even one stair with her other leg, she simply cannot do it with just the strength of her leg alone. She has to use her hands or some other part of her body to help her up. With some exercises to help her work on various weak muscle groups at home, we are already trying to help her build on her areas of weakness.

After seeing Christie, we also know that seeing a physical therapist is pretty important not only for Aria to grow in her development, but also for Aria's safety. Aria is so wobbly at times that we truly do have concerns for her being around other children. For example, we have debated allowing Aria to join AWANA with her siblings (as she attends church on the weekends and enjoys it). However, if she is placed with her peers on such a high energy night, we are concerned for her safety. Chad and I have talked about perhaps requesting she is put with much younger children that may not be so much bigger than she is. And that may be a good answer at least during this time of Aria's life. Or the other option is to just wait until she grows stronger and more steady on her feet. That is the one we are opting for right now.

This poses the next question... why is Aria so physically weak? This question actually puzzled the cardiologist, who said her particular heart condition should not be the cause of this type of weakness. So what is it? Was it her poor nutrition and apparent malnourishment? Was it that at her orphanage, she was carried often and coddled? Many of the pictures they gave us show Aria carried. Given her size and her slow pace, this is an easy thing to do. Also, given the information we learned and observed firsthand about the orphanage staff and also what we see in Aria's behavior, we have no doubts she was catered to and given her way. We also have some pictures given to us of Aria as a baby, and she was put into a sort of wooden box to make her contained, similar to say an exersaucer but without the toys and perhaps without the need to use important muscle groups in her legs. (It's hard to tell from the picture.) We also wonder if she was given important tummy time as a baby to develop her neck muscles or other exercises like that. We do know she was left at the orphanage at 4 months old and was in poor health. Perhaps because of her poor health at that age, she missed many important milestones in her development and wound up skipping steps to the detriment of her body? Or it could be a combination of all of those things, or perhaps none of those things and reasons we may never know or are yet to find out?

We are left with many questions regarding Aria in a variety of areas. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall of that orphanage! We just may never know the answers, only to just deal with the consequences of her almost 4 years of being institutionalized.

We would appreciate your continued prayers over our little daughter. Some specific prayer requests we have are in the following areas:

*Health and development
- We pray that the hole in Aria's heart completely heals and that her hemoglobin levels increase. We also pray that her muscles grow in strength and ability. At this stage of the game, we just want her body to become more stable for her own safety and able to perform basic tasks with more ease.

*Behavior - Aria still exhibits hording tendencies. We find items in her "stashes" that belong to her but also to others. We pray that she will feel completely safe and secure so she doesn't feel the need to protect and hide possessions. Aria also has an overpowering personality, and her controlling tendencies can overwhelm particularly her brother, but also the rest of us to some degree. We pray for wisdom to know how to firmly handle these patterns of poor behavior that she has learned. Given we don't know how she was disciplined in the orphanage, we are still learning what disciplinary measures reach Aria. (We get the definite feeling she was disciplined for performance of tasks but not much if at all for behaviors that are due to heart issues.) There are quite a few behavior/heart issues we are dealing with on a daily basis, and so we just need prayers in this area for wisdom, discernment, and lots and lots of patience.

Thank you for following her journey. We are so grateful for your continued intercession on her and our behalf.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Battle

We battle every single day in one way or another. We battle against temptation, we battle against the world, we battle against our sinful flesh. We battle. Sometimes we battle with those we love the most, such as our spouses. Common marital battles include finances, communication, intimacy, and plans. Other times we battle with our kids. These battles often are done toward behaviors and heart issues. Other times we wage battle with the kids themselves because we are exasperated and don't have patience to parent as we should. Then we battle inwardly on what kind of parents we really are. We battle.

As a mother that has been a bit battle weary lately, I have seen once again such a picture of God in my relationships, particularly with Aria. You see, Aria battles with us daily. She battles with me, she battles with Chad, she battles with the kids, she even battles the dog. She battles. She battles for her way, not ours. She battles to be in control over the home and all that are in it. Typically she battles loudly. Sometimes she battles only with silence and glares that say more than words ever could. But yes, she battles.

In my weariness, in my moments of pondering, in my prayers as I cry out to God as to how to handle the battles, God has spoken ever so gently to my heart...

Do as I do. For you, Kristin, battle with me daily. You battle for your way and not Mine. You battle to be in control of your home and all that are in it. You often battle loudly, but sometimes you battle in silence that says more than any words could. Yes, you battle. I have waited so long for you to fully trust Me so you don't feel like you need to battle Me anymore. Yes, your battles anger Me with a righteous anger. I cannot let you go on in this behavior without doing something about it. And the wars you wage are hurtful. Yet know I LOVE YOU... and I am here. I correct you not out of anger, but out of love. I wait on you to change and grow, and help and encourage it daily. You are not the same person you used to be, and Aria won't always be the same either. She battles, you battle. Do as I do...


"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Aria's Many Medical Appointments

Today was a big day for Aria. We had 4 medical appointments for Aria today, the biggest and most important one of all of them being her cardiologist.

We started our day with Aria getting an x-ray of her heart. From there we went to see the cardiologist. After that Aria had to get some blood work done. (And I got to collect her stool sample at home - sounds fun, doesn't it?) And then later in the afternoon the poor sweetie had 2 immunizations to get. Did I mention she had her first dentist appointment yesterday too?

There are many amazing things about all of these appointments. First, I'll start with Aria's attitude. Aria was completely cooperative at every single appointment. She did exactly what the doctors and medical specialists needed her to do. I know she definitely had a little anxiety going on about each appointment, but with honesty and doing the best I could to explain to her what would happen in terms she'd understand, she seemed more confident. For example, for the radiologist, I told Aria they were just going to take pictures of her heart and she would have no owies. The "no owies" part certainly helped her willingness. Before she had her blood drawn at the lab, I told her that there would be "a little owie" and that it would be over soon. She sat there, watched the whole process, didn't cry a bit, but definitely was glad when it was over with. (She literally skipped out of that appointment when it was over!) We had no tears, we had cooperation, and once again it was a very bonding day for the two of us.

Another amazing note... Aria has absolutely no cavities in her teeth! This is a girl from an orphanage who had a poor diet. No cavities? That's amazing!

Now for the biggie... Aria's heart looks VERY good. Yes, the right side is still a bit enlarged. And yes, there still is some leaking. But it's still early after her heart surgery (only about 4 months), and so healing is still occurring. The doctor said she thought the surgeons did an excellent job. She marveled at the way they accomplished the surgery (small incision and precise stitches on the heart itself), and she told me she couldn't wait to email the surgeons in Iowa City to tell them about the way Aria's procedure was done. She said this because they (in China) did the surgery through her right side (she said it should've been done on the left, closest to the heart), and her incision should not have been vertical but horizontal. She had never seen a procedure done like Aria's was, and it brought to her mind many questions about how on earth the surgeons in China accomplished it. She even joked, "I should start sending my patients to have surgery in China!"

You know what I take out of all of that? Aria's surgery was not only overall successful, but done just as well if not better than if she had the surgery in the States. This is a big deal to us because we were given the choice if Aria should have her surgery in China or wait until she came home. We chose China, but not without a lot of concern and questions. ISN'T IT COOL that God, once again, goes beyond what we can even hope for????

Aria does not need to return to the cardiologist for a year. And if all looks well then, we won't have to go back for another 5 years (unless something unusual pops up). Aria has absolutely no restrictions on her activities. Sports? Check. Roller Coasters? Check. A marathon when she gets older? Check. NO RESTRICTIONS. Amazing!

I just am blown away. We have some test results to get back still. And whatever comes back, we will deal with that when it happens. This is our little girl, whatever will come. But to think back that before her referral, I didn't think I could go forward with a child with an "organ" condition after all we had been through with Kael. And then God asked us to take Aria, a child with heart disease. He asked me to lay down those fears and let God be God. He brought forward the opportunity for her heart surgery just 2 months before we came to bring her home. He worked in amazing ways in that operating room. And today, at the cardiologist's office as the doctor wondered aloud about possible issues with Aria's heart because of the way the surgery was done, God brought me a peace that even if another surgery was needed, God was in control. I was utterly at peace in that office. That was a hugely supernatural thing right there! And if that wasn't enough, God showed the doctor indeed how wonderfully the surgery was done and through that revealed to me that Aria's heart is on a strong path to healing. No restrictions. If we had said no because we were afraid of all the "what ifs" with her heart, we never would've had a chance to experience all these things... never would've had the chance to experience our sweet little girl.

We've had so much to be thankful for, and today God has revealed to us even more that we are just in awe of. We are so grateful to Him for the work He is doing in this little girl's life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why?

We anticipate some questions with our latest announcement. We've certainly wrestled with some questions ourselves as we've come to our decision to adopt from Haiti.

So let's start with the most obvious one...

Why are we adopting so soon after Aria just came home?
As we mentioned in our previous post, we made the decision that we were going to adopt again even before bringing Aria home. We knew that to make a decision like this, we needed to do it when we were fully in our "right minds". Let me put it this way, when you come home from the hospital with a newborn baby, in your state of exhaustion, sleepless nights, and little to no time to yourself, you don't start to think "Gee, I'd love to have another baby!" Well, at least I didn't do that. I think most of us, in that state, can't even fathom doing that all over again when we are in the thick of the rough part of it. It's the same with adoption. We knew we probably wouldn't be able to even think about starting the process to adopt again once we brought Aria home, so we made our decision before we went to China.

As far as starting now, international adoption takes a while. The child (or children) we bring home won't be here for probably 2 years. That gives us plenty of time to bond with Aria and grow as a family of five before we add any new members to it.

And the last point with this, Aria is adjusting really well. That doesn't mean things are rainbows and sunshine here all the time. They definitely are not. But things are going, overall, very well with Aria. But even if they were not... we feel a call on our hearts to adopt again. It is a pressing call, one that has been deeply stirred in us over this last year. Whether our home life is "easy" or not, when God calls (and with this it has been a strong call!), we have two choices - either obey or disobey. We've seen how disobedience worked out in the Bible. We've seen how disobedience works out in our own lives. Given the choice, we'd rather obey. We don't have the obedience thing down pat. But this one, quite honestly, was a pretty easy choice.

How can we afford to adopt internationally a third time?
With Aria's adoption, we had no idea how we were going to cover the costs of her adoption when we started. But God provided every last cent we needed to pay for her adoption. I'm not trying to say that our experience with Aria is prescriptive in how God will work in every adoption. I'm just saying we are taking a step of faith to where God is working, and we trust He will provide what we need so we can do what He has commanded!

We already have two children from East Asia. Why not there again?
This is a question I (Kristin) really wrestled with. As we mentioned in our last post, we truly thought we would be adopting from China again this time around. The door is definitely closed to China for us at this current time. Our hearts are very much linked to that area of the world, so we researched every country's program in that region... Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea again, etc. One reason or another, each of these programs were not a fit for our family. For some, we were just ineligible to be a part of their program. (Reasons like having too many kids already to be able to adopt from their country, etc. Or in the case of Vietnam, their program is not even open at this time!)

It's funny, because from there we researched Eastern Europe, Africa, Central and South America, even the Middle East. Not one of those programs grabbed us or seemed to fit our family. And, almost as an afterthought, Haiti came to mind... that little island not too far from the United States, a country we weren't too familiar with outside of the devastating earthquake that took place not too long ago. So we read and we researched. The program is open - that was a start! We met the country's requirements. The program's description was a perfect fit for our family. And last, I found an incredible agency. I had spoken with Hand in Hand already before Aria came home about their China Special Needs program. I really liked the person I talked with and found their agency to be incredibly helpful, quick to answer all my questions, and just truly personable. Chad and I both wanted to work with them if we adopted from China again. After deciding Haiti may be a fit, I researched online what agencies in the country have a Haiti program. And what do you know, Hand in Hand has a Haiti program! I talked with the director, and found that she too was very helpful, personable, and quick to answer my (MANY) questions.

The more we researched about Haiti, the more our hearts broke over the children there. All I can say is... we had NO idea. Once again, we can't unlearn what we've learned. Fears and trepidation aside, the need is enormous there. It didn't take much before we both decided this was where God wanted us to go next.

We've adopted a 14 month old boy, then a 3 year old girl... what's next?
We are open to having a boy and/or a girl. Haiti has some sibling groups that need a family. We are open to that this time around too. As far as age, on our application we listed "any up to age 11". That's what we put, anyway. But we are open to the child(ren) God leads us to. The exciting thing about this process is that we will get a referral very soon after our dossier is received. We were told that some have even received a referral the day after! However, we will have a longer wait this time around after our referral. The estimated time to travel is from 12 to 18 months after referral. That will certainly be different for us. We waited 8 months for JJ to come home after his referral, and we waited about 5 months before we traveled to China after Aria's referral. BUT we know it's about God's timing, not ours. Estimates are just that, so we are hoping for shorter. But if not, God is never too early and never too late. (I may need to be reminded of that during the wait, though!)

What if Haiti's program closes again? What if this adoption doesn't work out as we think it will?
We've crossed that bridge a bit with our first adoption. We initially started in the China program (not special needs), and as the program's length increased from an estimated 18 months to 4 or 5 years in the year we were in it, we had to make the very tough and emotional decision to change programs in the middle of our adoption. After praying and talking a lot, we switched to South Korea. We received JJ's referral just weeks after we switched! If we hadn't switched programs when we felt one door closing and another opening, we would've missed out on the incredible blessing that is JJ!

With international adoptions there are always risks. Quite honestly, having kids at all poses risk. We can live in the "what ifs" and be too afraid to move forward, or we can go when we hear the call. If God closes a door and opens a new one, it will be tough as we are already emotionally invested in the children of Haiti. We've already begun to dream about our future children. But we trust that God gives us His best for what we think is better. So forward we go...

Last but not least... Are we crazy?
Seriously, are we? Yes, said in jest. But what are we thinking?

Are we just that self assured in our parenting abilities? Um, yeah, that's definitely a big no. Are we addicted to adoption? Chad joked about that this morning. Adoption is amazing, but I think there are much easier things to do in life (like Facebook - ha!) that addiction would be more likely to creep in. Nope, not addicted to adoption.

What's more, we have definite concerns and fears. I have insecurities over some of my choices as a parent. I have no clue how I'm going to homeschool more than the three I already have. We wonder if our future children will face racism and wonder how we can tame the mother and father bear that want to claw out to protect our own. (We have dealt with only one ugly comment and a few meant-to-be-innocent-but-still-hard-to-hear ones that come to mind
in this regard since we've adopted JJ . And yes, it's hard to tame the bear within!) We wonder about our finances within all of this. We think, we wonder, we walk forward in some fear and trepidation. It is serious spiritual work to put those things to the backburner and choose faith instead. Drawing near to God is the only way... otherwise those doubts and fears creep right in again. (We appreciate your prayers as those darts and temptations are very real!)

I've said it before and I'll say it again (I need to so I can remember and believe it!!!)... God always equips us for what He commands us to do. So, in a nutshell, that's why.