Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I am going to start off by saying, I am sure there is one or two agencies out there that do NOT fit this mold. Otherwise, I stand on my opinion that most domestic adoption agencies are nothing but legalized baby brokers. (After reading this if you know of an agency that doesn't charge huge fees, please let me know.)
Our adoption of little Troy cost us less than $8,000. That was with counseling for the birthmother, our homestudy, legal fees, everything. We have several friends who have adopted for less than $2,000. SEVERAL. So why is it that the cheapest I have found an agency adoption for was $10,000? Wait, I must digress. They were not up front about the $10,000. Let me tell you the story of our last failed adoption.
Chris & I had done training to be foster parents, in hopes of adopting Troy's little brother who was in the foster care system. We did not finish prior to him being placed, but decided we still wanted to be foster parents to help out and be a light in some little people's lives. So, when we moved here I called a local agency to ask them about signing up to foster through them. After talking, and them finding out about my medical training, they asked me to consider a little boy they had available for adoption who had spina bifida. He was born to a teenage couple, and had been available but they had not found him a family yet. He was 5 months old. Chris and I talked about it, prayed about it, and decided we would love to take him. We were concerned with the money the agency charged, and were assured that if anything, we would only pay the legal fees. We agreed to a fully open adoption, just like with our Troy. We went through the steps to bring him home. We were to get him on a Saturday 3 weeks after we learned of him. The Monday prior to bringing him home, after we had already gotten his room ready, I turned in the last of our financial paperwork, to prove to the judge that we could afford another child. The adoption facilitator forwarded the information to the powers that be within the agency. That afternoon we were contacted stating that the adoption would cost us $25,000. They let us know they needed $10,000 before he could be places with us and that the balance would have to be paid before we could finalize. After many tears and protests, they finally agreed to take "just the $10,000" for the adoption. They expected us to go into debt in order to add to our family. We said no. What was their answer? "Well, one day the 'right' family for this child will come along". The right family was not a family, but a sum. This child needed medical care his birth family was unable to provide. He had been waiting at that point 6 months for a family who welcomed him with open arms. We were that family. We did not ever see his face, but we loved him. To this day we still pray for him. I wonder what they told the birth-family of this baby who already knew they had a match that was happy to take on his medical needs and still involve them? Did they tell them "Sorry, they backed out" or were they honest and told them "sorry, once we saw their income we decided they needed to pay us for the baby".
I know how much adoption costs. I know we are an excellent adoptive family. We have kept our word about honoring an open adoption commitment, and we want to raise our children to honor the Lord. Yet, this Christian Agency, and many others, base everything on a bottom line that is all related to money. Yeah yeah yeah, some have a "sliding scale". Guess what? It is still a lot of money. Especially when that sliding scale does not take anything into consideration outside of your income and family size. I know we are not the only family that feels like this. It doesn't just upset me for us, it upsets me for all of those people out there with aching arms and unpadded bank accounts.
There needs to be a revamping of the way adoption works. Birth mothers need to be made aware that agencies are using them to profit. They are taking advantage of adoptive parents. Would a birthmother rather you spend $25,000 on her child, and the expenses of that child, or are they better served by you spending that money to an agency just to add the child to your home?
I am seriously considering getting another degree in social work so I can run an adoption ministry. I believe adoptive families need to be financially stable to adopt, but I do not believe they should have to go into debt or spend their savings. There is a better way to go about building amazing families without tons of money changing hands. There are very few expenses beyond legal fees. Our adoption of Troy would not have cost as much if we had shopped around for a lawyer. He was about 3x what a typical lawyer charges, but we were in a hurry and didn't interview others.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I reserve the right to edit this list, lol...
- Map Pencils
- Glue sticks
- construction paper
- clip board
- transparency paper
- File folders
- New printer/scanner combo
- Printer Sideboard
- Cutting tray
My little Troy, well, he is just little. Both in size and maturity. At least I thought so. This week Michaela is at Hunting camp, so she is not here to do her chores. I figured I'd give the vacuuming to Troy, fully expecting to go behind him and re-do it, but I wanted to keep him busy while I did my chores and let him feel as though he was helping. After a little re-direction of not driving the vacuum like a race car, he did fantastic. I did not have to go behind him and redo it. He did stop after one room though, wrought with exhaustion.
So, I moved on...I asked him to straighten up the bathroom. He picked up all the toys and netted them, and wiped down the tub without being asked. Honestly, he did better than the big kids do!!! I had clearly underestimated the little man. He was so proud of his accomplishments, and I was proud of him too.
It is apparent we have entered a new season in our lives...one where he can tow more weight around here. It is bittersweet...my baby, he is a growing up!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Most of the time I am happy-go-lucky Heather. But, sometimes I get into a funk and I am "negative nelly". This has been an even more common phenomenon since our move here to West Texas. I really want to bloom where I am planted, and I believe I have, BUT, I believe my growth is stunted. I put on a happy face because I know it hurts hubby that we are unhappy here. I realize now though, *HE* is unhappy here. It was blatantly obvious on our trip to take Michaela to camp this weekend. He was in spirits I have not seen him in in a long while. He was giddy almost. Yes, my husband. The burly mean faced cowboy, giddy. He was playful. Nothing bothered him. It was amazing.
When I woke up in the hotel, this is what I found:
When I woke up in the hotel, this is what I found:
When I asked him *what* he was doing, he said he was "putting all the green in his brain so he could bring it home with him". Wow. It has effected him too.
On the way home from East Texas, we stopped at a park so Troy could play, and so we could get some pictures for a photography scavenger hunt I am doing. Here are some pictures from that.
We had such a nice trip...while we were in this area and on our way home:
Yet, when we got back to this, things started to go downhill. That burly cowboy man I am married to, he started getting grouchy. Troy started whining. Things changed. This following picture is one I took on our way home as I noticed the changes starting. This is over an hour from here...it is much nicer there than here.
Still I work on my attitude. I want to make the best of living in a barren land. It's amazing how your environment influences your attitude. We did decide, for sure, we are going to move back to the green ASAP.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I am excited to share with you that I am a member of the 2011-2012 Homeschool Crew! I will be reviewing various homeschooling products to help other homeschooling families decide what will be good products for them.
Monday, June 20, 2011
This morning, as I was spending my quiet time with the Lord, I was thinking about how absolutely beautiful praise for our Lord is. I began to listen to some of my favorite praise music. Then, I got to focusing on the verse Hebrews 13:15 "Therefore, let us continuously offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name". Admittedly, I knew the verse, but not the location of the verse, so to the trusty internet I went looking. While looking, I found this page and thought I needed to share what this man had to say.
The bible says “let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalms 150:6) We are all called to do so. It is sad to see how many people miss out on God’s blessings; protection, guidance and love just because they do not spend time praising God. Lately the Lord has been dealing with my heart about rendering praise to Him. It is amazing to see God’s faithfulness and mighty hand while we render praise. Oh how we make life difficult when God already simplified it for us. Praise helps you focus on what God is going to do in your life rather than you keeping your focus on what is happening around you.
Are you struggling through life? Are you facing eminent death? Are your finances in crisis? Do you need guidance and direction for your life right now? Whatever situation you are going through, I know of a God whose specialty happens to be whatever your problem is. Please allow me to quickly tell you about this God.
Hebrews 13:15 says: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name”. What is a sacrifice of praise? It is confessing the names of the Lord according to the above verse. Michael Youssef said in his book “Empowered by Praise” that a sacrifice of praise is “speaking His name in relationship to our personal life.” Meaning if you need provision in your life, you would call on Jehovah – Jireh (God our provider), if you need healing in your life, you would call on Jehovah- Rapha (God our healer).
Brothers and sisters, please allow me to encourage you to continually offer a sacrifice of praise. To help you get on your way to rendering continual praise unto God, allow me to offer you this list of names of God and their meanings. Feel free in His presence. Call upon His names and be blessed and delivered. As a matter of fact, Joel 2:32 says “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Notice the word whosoever, whosoever, WHOSOEVER! That means even you. If you just take a minute and call upon the name of the Lord, YOU WILL BE SAVED from whatever situation you are in.
- Call upon Yahweh (The God who always is)
- You need healing? Call upon Jehovah - Rapha (God our healer)
- You need provision? Call Jehovah - Jireh (God our provider)
- You need protection? His name is Jehovah – Nissi (God our banner)
- You feel unholy? Talk to Jehovah – Mekaddesh (God who makes us holy)
- You need peace? Jehovah – Shalom is the name (God our peace)
- You need guidance? Call Jehovah – Rohi (God our Shepherd)
- You feel unrighteous? Call on Jehovah- Tsidkenu (God our righteousness)
- Jehovah – Shammah (God who is present always)
The more you praise God by His names, the more He will change you. Let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Troy has always been terrified of bees...and flies. No matter what you told him about the common housefly, he was convinced it was a bee and would sting him. For at least 3 years I know he has been put into a tailspin anytime a fly got near him. So, imagine our surprise when he turned a corner and announced that the flies in our R.V. were his pets. Pet flies? Yep. Anytime we would swat one away, he would get upset and apologize for not having better trained pet flies. He really got upset when one died. We tried to hide it when we got rid of one.
Kids are so funny in how they interpret things.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A-ha! It's that touchy subject...the tongue. No no no, I am not talking about the taste buds and muscles and how bad it hurts to bite it, what I am saying is we should "figuratively" bite it more often! Shoot, forget figuratively for some, if you need to literally bite your tongue to keep from spewing what should not be spewed, then DO IT!
This morning in our Good Morning Girls reading, we read James 3:10 which says "Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be. Now, doesn't it just strike deeper when you are commanded with an "ought not"? Okay, so maybe it's just me. Regardless, we are warned about the tongue over and over throughout the word of God (93 times to be exact), so why is it STILL so much of a problem? Why can we not tame our tongues? James 1:26 tells us that if we cannot tame our tongue, our religion is worthless. What we are being told is that what we say can totally devoid the way others view Christ.
Why is that? Well, because we are the body of Christ as Christians, and when we speak in a manner unbecoming, others see our actions as his actions, so we are hurting the kingdom with our tongue.
The tongue is mighty and powerful. It can build, and it can tear down.
We should all make a concerted effort to dig in and make certain our tongue is being used to build up and edify. Do not rely on your own strength, look to the Holy Spirit to help you.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
My daughter has started using dry erase markers and writing scripture verses on her bathroom mirrors, her bedroom mirrors, and on various dry erase boards around the house. I saw this as an opportunity to encourage her in her prayer life and reading the bible. So, I asked her to pray about it and every few days to put a verse on our bathroom mirror (in the master bath) and also on the dry erase board in Troy's room. I just asked that it be something she felt we needed.
So, imagine my alert when she wrote our verse on our mirror today and it was:
So, imagine my alert when she wrote our verse on our mirror today and it was:
1 Corinthians 7
10And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
I just stood and stared at it, wondering *WHY* on earth she would chose this one for us. I mean, it is not like we are in discord (lately) or anything. So, I asked her. Now, remember she is 13. I have a tendency to look at her as much more grown up than she is (she is 5'10") and sometimes forget she is still very much a child. She says "Last week you and Daddy had an argument, and I don't want you guys to split up". Wow.
Now, this argument she spoke of was the little spat we had about my car not being vacuumed. Really, it was silly and about nothing even worth arguing about. I didn't think a second about it once it was over. However, this verse is OBVIOUSLY what we needed, for sure. Because there is danger of divorce? No. Absolutely not. However, it is a reminder of the effect our words and actions have on our children, even the older more seasoned ones. They see things in a different way and their fears are intense.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Today the kids and I ate lunch at 1pm. I was not hungry, even at 7ish, so I didn't eat dinner. The kids had some snacky stuff for dinner, because they too were not really hungry. Then my husband called, told me he was having a business dinner and asked if I would like to come along. I was so excited 1)to be asked and 2) to try this place out, because I had heard RAVE reviews.
So, we went and I tried lots of stuff on the menu. I ended up having a nice meal, a very tasty meal. But, you know what? I was NOT hungry. When I sat down to eat, I knew I didn't need to eat. I was still satiated from earlier. However, I wanted to taste it. I wanted the experience of dining with my husband. So, I ate it anyway. Now I am bloated and have indigestion and I feel miserable. I won't even go into the extra calories I obviously didn't need either.
I got to wondering about how sin is kind of like that sometimes. How many times do we recognize sin for what it is, but because it is right there, we do it anyway? We know we don't want it, we know we don't need it, and we certainly know we don't want the weight that partaking will cause. Yet, because it "tastes" good or "feels" good, we do it anyways.
We talk about going on "diets" all of the time, so that we lessen the physical weight our body carries. To be better in the eyes of the world, in our own eyes, and to live longer. Why do we worry so much with our physical stature when our spiritual stature doesn't seem to carry such a high level of importance? Is it because when we over-indulge in food it shows outwardly? As Christians, we know that our sin is already washed away. We know Jesus died for us so that we do not have to pay the price for our sin. While that is true, we do not have to pay the ultimate price for our sins, they still weigh heavily on us. Sometimes even physically.
No mater how close we are in our walk with the Lord, there is room for a "diet". We can find ways to cut sin out even more than it is now. I challenge you all to find ways to go on a spiritual diet.
(Now, all this being said I also believe it better to take care of our bodies, as they were a gift from God to us and we need to treat them as such. This is an area where I struggle beyond belief, but I think I need to work on the inside more than the outside. A stronger inside, a lighter inside, a cleaner spirit will lead to the strength to take care of the outside.)
There are better way's to do things "Anyway"...like Mother Theresa's poem tells us
Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
There are plenty of times when I can post things that are bothering me, but I try not to do that. I want to praise my husband though. He has been a doll this week. He seems to be changing and I *like* the changes I am seeing. For example, the other day I got *nothing* done around the house. Why? Because the children and I piled up on the couch and watched a crime drama marathon for 8-10 hours (not really sure, but it was a long time). When hubby came home, I expected a little bit of irritation. There was none. He said "Ah, everyone needs an off day now and then. I am sure the kids really enjoyed down time with you."
Yesterday he called and I was laying by the pool trying to get some sun. He asked what I was doing, and I told him. He playfully said to me "don't EVER let me hear you complain about what a rough life you lead!". I replied "Do I *ever* complain, I know how blessed I am", he said "No, you really don't complain".
I don't want to complain. I want to bloom where I am planted. Midland Texas...not my favorite place on earth, true. However, I do live a good life even if in the dry barren high priced desert. My husband loves me and at 37ish, is maturing into a new person that is even better than the day before. How lucky am I? All I can do is try to change to be more of what he needs.
Friday, June 3, 2011
I love this thing. When I first bought it, hubby said "I cannot BELIEVE you spent that much on a vacuum"! Truth be told, he was pretty upset with me for the purchase. However, he was impressed with it (to say the least) the first time he used it. He did the same thing I did, he kept looking for other ways to use it. Like cleaning the lint off of the outside dryer exhaust.
I truly love it. It is a tool that has made a HUGE difference in the cleanliness in my house. Baseboards used to get done only every few months, if that often (they were done when the kids got into big trouble and had to do baseboards as punishment). I hated doing baseboards. Do you know how much CLEANER your home looks when you baseboards are clean? With the tools on board my Dyson, and it's power, baseboards are a SNAP. I clean them on a weekly basis for the most part, bi-weekly at the least. It is so easy to just run the little brush along the boards when doing a room. I especially love it for the baseboards in the bathroom.
You want to know another favorite use? To get the access dust up off the patio that I can't get up by sweeping. Yes, I am serious. I thought my hubby was going to have a stroke when he saw me vacuuming the patio with that expensive vacuum. However, he is impressed with the quality of "clean" it enables us to achieve.
I know this, for sure, my house has been cleaner since getting the Dyson than it has ever been before. I just cleaned the ceiling fans with it. Go me. My window sills, my blinds, my doorjams, my fireplace and lots of other places: all clean thanks to my direction and my animal air muscle's power.
So, if you are in the market for a new vacuum, it really is worth the extra investment. No, I was not paid in any form or fashion for this. I wish...I would really like a Dyson Digital for the stairs and other odds and ends!!!