We found out Monday we are now number 21 on the waiting list:). So here's my science... not the next group of referrals or the next but for sure the NEXT will include us!!!! (I could totally be wrong... it could be sooner!!! ... but it could be a little later, too) This has my stomach in KNOTS and BUTTERFLIES! This is SO much different than being physically pregnant. We have NO idea when she will be here so the anticipation is so much greater because we know it will be so surprising when it happens. We didn't find out if Parker was a boy or girl and it was so much fun. THIS is so much more fun but soooo tough at the same time. As I cautiously parent over my children and watch what they eat, make sure they're safe, tuck them in at night.. it's hard knowing Joleigh is exposed to malaria, malnourishment, even abandonment. God is preparing our hearts and filling them full of love for our sweet Joleigh. The kids talk about her all the time. Piper says, "my want my sister". I can't wait to see them together!!
I'm reading the book Radical by David Platt and oh my is it good? LOVE it!!! Here's an excerpt from it that I think speaks volumes.
So what is the difference between someone who willfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who willfully indulges in selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor. The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves the social norm in the church." I mean how many of us think that helping the poor is someone else's responsibility?? Those who are called, not all christians but just the ones who have a passion for the poor. One thing that is terribly sad about this situation is that "believers" are missing out on such an opportunity to be used to further His kingdom, to feed His children. We are not at all where we want to be but thank GOD our eyes are opened, He stepped all over our toes and we have a desire to obediently follow Him.
We are still number 27 on the waiting list. It's been a couple of months since they've had any referrals but there should be several soon. The medical clinic our agency uses ran out of AIDS and DNA test. There are several children who are waiting for these test to be referred. We are pretty confident we won't have to make it all the way down to the #1 spot b/c we're asking for a 6 mo. to 2 year old (actually 3 yr old but they won't place out of birth order). Many ahead of us are asking for infants. SOOoo, it is very possible that it will not be too long before we have our referral. Assuming there are 6-10 referrals soon after all the testing is done, we would be in the teens and probably will only have to move 8-10 more spots. Okay, I'm sure this is kind of confusing for some and for others you're probably thinking, "get a life" ;0) BUT this is what I do, I constantly play with the numbers and try to guess when our referral is. It keeps me sane.. most of the time ;). For the longest, I just knew we'd have a referral by October but now I'm thinking it will be November-ish, possibly December. After our referral, we would travel about 8 weeks later for a court appearance and to meet Joleigh. We would travel home and then return for her about 6 weeks later. With all of that being said, I can't help but daydream about what the "call" will be like. Our agency will call us and tell us they are about to send us our referral through email. We will have a picture and information about our DAUGHTER. I cannot even imagine what it will feel like to see her for the first time. Literally, just typing about the "call" gives me butterflies.
Today was Parker's first day of Kindergarten. He did fantastic!! I was much more together than I thought I would be. I really had a peace about him going and am excited to see him be "him". He's never been anywhere but home really and always kind of been "Andrew's little brother". It will be exciting to see how he grows as an individual. We love you SO very much Parker Isaac and you bring so much joy to our house. There's never a dull moment when you're around!!
Today was also Andrew's first day of First Grade. He had a great time! We got his Kindergarten state test back today and he did fantastic!! He only missed 3 questions out of 70. We were very proud:) He told me today he was the quietest kid in class. hehe. He is such an absolute sweetheart. We love you Andrew Reagan. I constantly day dream about who you will become.
This has been the most stretching year for me as a believer. Well, probably the last 2 years have been the most eye opening. God has broken my heart for what breaks His and I wish I could say it's been easy to follow Him there but it has not. Satan has continually attacked all along the way. I wouldn't trade it for anything though. God has literally opened my eyes so much to the things that are really important. Please know that I am saying He has opened my eyes and that I am taking steps to follow but it is a process and I am in no way THERE. I'm getting there, but I have far to go. For those of you who feel I've offended you in anyway by sharing what He has laid on my heart for the needy of the world, I am sorry you were offended. My prayer is to be used by Him to cause you to question what you do to further His kingdom and care for His children. It is not meant to judge you. BUT I will state this boldly because I strongly believe it is the truth... His children are not the responsibility of the "called" they are the responsibility of all who claim to be His children. God calls us over and over in scripture to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. My writings are not that you will grow bitter b/c you feel I'm questioning how you're spending your money but that you will examine how you're spending it. Is it being used to care for His? Could you nit pick my life and question my spending? Of course... but we are searching for ways to become more and more obedient to His calling. Yes, we take lots of trips to Branson (you should've seen the last roach hotel we stayed in there;0), yes, I have lots of technology gadgets, we are terribly frugal in all of them but honestly I'm not going to be legalistic here because I think if we are truly searching His heart and asking Him to use us He will let us know what our lives are to look like. Can you ever go to Starbucks again and splurge on a latte? Sure. My challenge to you though is to seriously look at your finances over the past 6 months and see if they are centered around you or around Him? He will help you center them around Him if you desire to follow Him. That is where we are right now and I love it! We have a lot of unknowns in our near future, but what we do know is that we want to live sold out for Him and we want our lives to be a testimony of His heart for all people. I'll be honest this type of lifestyle feels downright lonely at times. It's unpopular. Not welcomed by many.... BUT there are those few who get it and God has used them to bless me over and over and over. I urge you to read Radical, The Hole in Our Gospel or Crazy Love and allow Him to use you in ways you never dreamed you would've considered. Here's a video that shares a little about the book Radical.
We are all about some staycations! We have memberships for the year to the Little Rock Zoo, Silver Dollar City and Mid America Museum. Here's my arguments on how they've saved, will save, us a fortune:)
Little Rock Zoo sold their memberships for 1/2 off last November (I believe it was November). Zoo membership is normally $85/family and we were able to purchase our for $42.50. It would actually cost us over $45 just to go to the zoo one time so it's well worth it, especially when they are discounted. Not only can you go to the LR zoo, you can also go to a lot of other zoos for free or 1/2 off. The Memphis zoo is not too far away and we get 1/2 off admission there. It's a wonderful zoo and the kids love it!
We purchased Silver Dollar City passes this year for the first time. We actually just bought passes for Cam and I and used the 2 free bring a friends to bring the kids with us. We were able to upgrade those to season passes, which really you're not suppose to do that but the lady didn't know and we were clueless it was against their policy until reading it later somewhere. So we spent probably $225 for all of us to have season passes at SDC. We've gone several times this year. The boys love it! Season pass holders get a lot of discounts to different things around Branson which has also come in handy. Honestly, I know lots of people spend tons of money going to Disney World but to us right now we'd rather visit SDC often instead of just a one time trip.
This weekend I purchased a family membership to Mid America Museum in Hot Springs for $65. The boys LOVE science museums. We could literally spend days looking at everything. The reason I decided to purchase season passes was b/c with a membership there, you virtually have a membership at any science museum. This summer, we went to a children's museum in Fort Worth and loved it! We could go back for free now. We can also go to the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock (about 40 minutes away) for free with this membership. I'm sure we'll use this pass numerous times before it expires August of next year.
So for about $350, we've been able to have so much fun with our family of 5. I'm sure it'll be a long time before we're taking any lavish vacations but who needs 'em when you can have fun all year long?
You should take a minute and hop over here to see what's going on in Katie's life. If ever you need a pick me up or a word of truth and encouragement her blog is the place to go. I actually chatted back and forth with her before we made the final decision to adopt. She is WISE beyond her years and sharpens me with with every word.
I am married to a wonderful man named Cameron. We love to laugh and do so often! We have 3 children who bring us more joy than we could've imagined. We're currently in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We cannot wait to bring her home!