The Family

The Family

Friday, October 22, 2010

Buddy Walk for Reece's Rainbow-- the video!

Check out this great video made by Andrea Roberts, founder of the organization Reece's Rainbow!!  Our family was priviledged to be able to participate in raising awareness for RR at the Charlotte, NC Buddy Walk this month.  There were 60 Buddy Walks across the country where Reece's Rainbow's mission was shared, bringing awareness to people across the country about the need to find homes for children with Down Syndrome and other special needs.  We hope to make our participation in this great effort an annual outing.

The kids and I are towards the end of the video, so watch the whole thing!!
(Make sure to turn off my music at the bottom of the page first)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Keepin' On Keepin' On...

It's been a rough past few days since we discovered last week that the sweet boy in China whom we had committed to would not be able to be our son.  Got our passports in the mail today.  Yet another reminder of where we won't be traveling this January.  Heartbroken is really the only way to describe what our family has felt.

And as much as we are broken hearted for ourselves, we are more-so for that child who might never have the ability to find a home of his own now just because of his age (and because of an agency that would not allow us to proceed quickly enough to get him).  I know that all things happen for a reason, and I do trust-- as I have mentioned many times-- that God has a plan for all His people, but that does not make us hurt any less both for ourselves, and that sweet child.

All children deserve a home.  A place to grow up in, to call their own.  A place to bring their friends to play, or when they're older... "hang out".  A home is a place where holidays are celebrated, birthday parties are put on and memories are created.   But most of all, home is where your family is, waiting to love you, rejoicing in your victories and lavishing you with hugs and kisses when you feel defeated. 

All I want for this precious little soul is a home.  One to call his own with a mommy and a daddy and people to love him and guide him through life.  We will continue to pray for him that he might find this before it is too late.  We will try not to lose hope.  We will try not to be angry at what has happened but rather turn towards God for His guidance in this as in all things. 

If you are homestudy ready and might be able to move forward where we couldn't in adopting this wonderful boy, please contact  It would mean such great happiness for our family to know that even though we could not go and get him, that someone else could and did give him the family he deserves.

With that said, we will not lose hope for our family either as we stay firmly on this journey towards adoption.  I keep referring to it as a journey because it really feels like one to me.  You begin with the discovery of this path you are really feeling lead to travel-- that being the adoption of a child-- and along the way you encounter so many twists and turns, hills and valleys that you fear you might never get to the end. 

Well, after having already traveled one path to adoption so far and now being within sight of that destination, I can affirm that the end will come and we will look back at that journey as being the bittersweet road you must take if you want to adopt.  The time it takes to travel that path and the bumps along the way are so worth it! 

So with that in mind, we will keep on going down this next adoption road knowing that it will lead us to another child, one who needs a home and a family just as much as that other precious boy.   There are so many children out there who need a home!  In most every country there are orphans waiting to find their families.  We have foster care here in the US, orphanages in other areas of the world.  There are just SO MANY children.  We can't allow this one unfortunate event to bring us down and dissuade us from making the difference in the life of another child.

Please keep our family in your prayers.  We are continuing to fundraise so that once we do get our homestudy completed we can commit to another child quickly.  Our first official fundraiser is this next week!  A dear friend of mine who is a Premier Jewelry associate has agreed to do a show at my home with all the proceeds going towards our adoption!  She is not only sacrificing her commission for this but has also offered to donate 20% of the profits of all shows booked from my show to our adoption as well!  And as an added bonus, all the jewelry I would normally get to keep as a hostess benefit will be raffled off here on my blog in the near future, so stay tuned!!

Unfortunately, Premier does not have an online catalog but I know their product is popular and fairly well known.  Anyone who would like to request a catalog, or if you have seen the product before and would like to place an order to benefit our show, you can contact my great saleslady Amy at  She would be happy to mail you a catalog or to take your orders!!  And yes, your jewelry can be shipped directly to you!!  Great timing for the holidays too.

So, as the title of my post suggests, we are keepin' on keepin' on.  We know that there are many more children there are in this world just longing for a family, and to that yet unknown child out there just waiting for a mommy and daddy to call his own we say, "Watch out world, because we're coming to get ya!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Deciding to take the LEAP!!

"Would you take that first step, into the unknown?  You know that He won't let you go" 
Britt Nicole

As most of you know if you have read my blog before, our family truly has a heart for adoption.  This has come about mostly at my urging and I will readily admit that I have been the catalyst for this adventure and transformation of our hearts. But I must say, I am thankful that my husband and my children have been very quick to follow.  They too have had their eyes open to the needs of orphans and are desiring to help too.

 My husband originally saw this need of mine to reach out to orphans and children in need over 3 years ago when I approached him tearfully.  I had always wanted to adopt and had expressed this desire to him when we were dating, so I think he knew it was only a matter of time.  I had approached him previously too, but we were still in the throws of creating our "biological family" and he asked me to wait until we had finished having our own children.

Well at this time 3 years ago when I approached him again, we were finished having children, settled in a new home, and we both decided that this was the time to take our plunge. We wanted to become foster parents and take in children who had possibly never experienced the love of a family or a stable home life. So after completing our homestudy and training, we got our foster license.

This is how Kierstyn came to our family, and we are so overjoyed that she is on her way to becoming a permanent member of the Rowe clan!  Hopefully her adoption will be finalized next month and we are so excited for that little piece of paper to arrive in the mail which decrees that she is legally our child!  Big party to follow!!  (And she is super excited about that!)

So, with all that said, many might think-- "Wow, well.... 5 kids.  Surely they are finished with their family now!"  We however think that God has other plans.  As I have posted here many times before, I have only recently come to recognize the plight of special needs orphans around the world and the immense need there is for people to come to their aid.  Over 140 million orphans is a huge statistic to ignore.  So we are not going to. 

We will not be a family who chooses luxuries over the needs of children.  We will not be a family who tries to forget the orphans we have met who desire the love of a family.  We will not try to fool ourselves into believing that we can't make a difference.  We will not let something like money get in our way, because we believe that if our hearts are right and our motives are good, and we truly strive to follow God's will, He will provide.  He can move mountains.  He will make a way.

With all that said we would like to announce that we are on the road to adopting a special needs child from China.  We never had intended to go to China, we actually had several other countries in mind that we felt lead to adopt from instead.  But China came to the forefront of our minds because of one particular boy.  One 13 year old boy who is aging out of the system in January on his 14th birthday.  We wanted so badly to rescue him from an uncertain future where at only 14 years old he would be declared "unadoptable", taken from the orphanage and put out into the countryside to fend for himself with no means of making a living and no family or resources to rely on in times of trouble.  So we thought we had to try to become his family.

But in this unfortunate instance, we have simply run out of time.  Our international homestudy is not complete. There would be no way for us to act fast enough to have all the paperwork to his country in time for us to get him before his 14th birthday.  We pray for him earnestly and hope that God guards him for the future.  We know that God has a plan for this boy and have to trust in Him and that plan, even though it is not what we wanted.

However, we know God has a plan for our family too.  He did not lead us down the path of discovering more about children in China with special needs for nothing.  We believe He still wants us on this path, and will lead us to the right waiting child in His time.

So with all that said, at the request of some I have added a chip-in to our blog.  Any money donated to this fund will go directly toward the adoption of a special needs child.  We have not found that child yet, but after Kierstyn's adoption is finalized we will begin looking again at all those precious faces needing a home.

The children we have found have different needs ranging from cleft lip and palate, to missing or deformed limbs, to blood disorders.  Things we might not look at as severe in our country, but things which make these children get looked at as second-class citizens in their own country.  It is for these "deformities" that these children are sent away, forgotten in orphanages and aging out because no one wants them for their own.  We want them.  We want the opportunity to give them a loving home in which to grow and flourish, to know God's love for them, and to become the individuals He intended them to be.  We want them to know they are special, cherished, loved people.

We pray that people's hearts will be opened to helping us in this endeavor.  It is definitely not a journey we can make on our own.  Everyone's support, prayers and love as we travel down this new road of adoption are appreciated.  Pray that we can complete our homestudy in a timely manner, and that God will lead us to the child intended for our family.  Please donate above to our chip-in if you can!  Feel free to send us fundraising ideas!  And please participate in our upcoming fundraisers if you are able.  I will make sure I post about them on here.

What a difference we can make in the life of a child if we only try!  Thanks to everyone in advance for helping enable our family to make that difference-- to be the change we want to see in the world.

There are a few favorite lines I have from the Nickleback song "If Today Was Your Last Day" that I have playing first on this blog, but the following ones I think are most appropriate for what I think about when looking at adoption--

"Against the grain should be a way of life.  What's worth the price is always worth the fight.  Every second counts 'cause there's no second try.  So live it like you're never living twice......... Don't take the free ride in your own life."

That is my motto when it comes to adoption.  It might be against the grain, but sometimes we have to forge our own path, make decisions that don't always follow the norm.  And if we wait to long, if we second-guess ourselves, if we focus too much on the "what-if's" and don't take action, it will be too late.  We need to be brave and step out in faith like the quote at the top of this post.  We will trust in God, step out in faith, know that nothing worth having comes free and nothing worth doing can be done without effort. 

 I don't want to take the free ride.   

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Strength for Today

"Be still and know that I am God.  I am the one who calms the storms and fears of life."

Wow, I needed to hear that today.  Such a timely message for what I am feeling right now.  I took a few minutes to read the latest blog post that a friend sent me, one that inspired her as well as she too leads a hectic life and races through her day as a mother of four.  Here is the link to the blog post.
Take a moment out of your day and read it, so encouraging and so true.

Life for us has been full these past few weeks.  Soooo much going on, lots I have not put here.... yet.  But I have felt very overwhelmed at times.  Between our regular homeschooling schedule, our co-op on Fridays, activities for the kids, and the normal running of the household, our days are pretty full. Tim breaking his leg added another whole new dimension to that as well, with the kids picking up his "chores" with the dog and the chickens, and me becoming the sole taxi driver of children hither and yon to their activities, medical appointments, guitar lessons, etc.

Now is a great time for me to remember that quote above, "Be still and know that I am God."  Just reading it makes me relax a little.  Truly knowing that it is true relieves some of my stresses.  I know I am not in control.  I know that He is.  He will see me through these hectic days.  He will provide me the strength and confidence I need to do the things I have to do.  Even when no one else appreciates or encourages me on my way, He is there, always guiding with love and knowing those things which I do in His name.

I need to make sure I look upon this life with gratitude.  Every crazy day, every chore to be done, every activity to run to, every lesson to teach-- these are signs that we are alive and we are blessed!  How incredibly blessed I am to be on this journey as a wife and a mother, to have children-- healthy ones at that-- who need to be taught and who can participate in those activities and who are able to make those messes that we need to clean up after a long, busy day.

 I need to look upon this season of life with that "attitude of gratitude" and remember, like everything else, it is fleeting.  If I just rely on Him, he will lead my steps and direct my path and before I know it we will be out of this proverbial "woods" and off to the next chapter of our lives.  He will be ever-present with us there too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Thought for the Day

"The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~

WHAT????  I know right now you must be thinking...."She can't be serious!  What does she, or rather Ralph, mean that the purpose of life is not to be happy??  Or maybe you're not wondering that, I don't know.  But I do know that to most Americans, perhaps most people in our modern world, this thought that we are NOT MEANT to be happy might come as quite a shock.  After all, our world, our culture, bombards us daily with the notion that life is ours for the taking, grab the bull by the horns darn it and do everything in your power to make your life as happy and content as possible! 

We have commercials aimed at getting us to buy products that supposedly will make us happy-- from fashion to travel, makeup, weight loss programs, depression medication and online dating sites promising us the perfect partner is just right around the corner.  We have gadgets to make us happy. Things that do everything for us in the blink of an eye so we can have more time to........ relax and be happy!   You get my point.

So for many of us, surrounded by this notion of happiness being an entitlement, the idea of not doing things to make ourselves happy, or better yet doing things that do not make us happy, seems absurd.  What is Mr Emerson really trying to get at here??

Well first of all, he  is not stating that being happy in and of itself is bad.  Rather he is saying that this happiness is not and should not be our main goal or purpose in life.  When we allow happiness to be our end-all and be-all, we turn into nothing more than self-serving snobs.  It's true isn't it?  Who of us can think back to someone we knew, or know, whose main priority is themselves?  Not usually the first person we think to go to when we are in need.... is it?  When we make happiness our goal, we tend to skip things that are uncomfortable, or things that cause us pain.  We tend to miss out on some really valuable lessons in life and really valuable contributions we could have made to the lives of others because we never considered anyone else's needs, or how we could fulfill them.  We were too concerned about ourselves.

So although happiness is not bad, it should not be our focus or our main priority.  So what should??  Well according to Mr Emerson in his infinite wisdom, it should be to be useful, honorable and compassionate, and to have our lives show that we have lived and lived well.  Useful.  Honorable.  Compassionate.  NOT selfish.  Self-serving.  Uncaring.

We need to show that we have lived well.  What does that mean exactly?  That we have lived lavishly.... or that we have lavished affection upon others?  That we have gained material wealth...... or that we have gained a wealth of knowledge about others and their needs?  That we have put our faith in ourselves and what we want... or that we have had abundant faith in God to turn us into the people we need to be and to give us what HE wants?  That we have been served.... or that we have humbled ourselves to serve others?

If we choose to listen to and live by Mr Emerson's statement and ignore the hedonistic ways of our culture, how will we do it?  How can we show others that our lives are not ones devoted to ourselves, but rather to the needs of many?  We each have our paths.  We each have our passions.  We each have our own talents and gifts.  How will we use them to life "a life worth living" as he says above?

Well I can only tell you my way.  It is not everyone's way but I feel it is mine.  It is through adoption.  It is through trying my darnedest to change one young life at a time.  It is by stepping out of my comfort zone, perhaps giving up some (or a lot) or what I want and focusing on someone else's need.  Trust me, this is no easy task.  I am certainly no perfect person.  I love material goods as much as anyone else, and I am certainly selfish with my time and energy more than I'd like to admit.  But I am trying.  And this is all any of us can do.  This is my way to do just that.... try.

Here is a post from another blog which pretty much sums up my heart.  This is a post from the blog "The Journey" which I have a link to here on my page under "Blogs I Like" and which I highly encourage you to read:

"And every single day, it is worth it. Because ADOPTION IS GOD’S HEART. He sets the lonely in families. Adoption is the reason that I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child 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.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day, it is not what I am doing to “help these poor kids out.” I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. I adopt because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for HIS sake will find it."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Which One Are You??

Here is a great You Tube video I have not seen before.  It really makes me think..... what do I want people to remember about my life after I am gone?  How do I want them to think of me-- as a "Hugger"?  Or as a person who tentatively, carefully but ever so bravely balanced on that beam of Life??  I would personally like to strive to keep my balance, even though it is more difficult, more scary and sometimes more painful.

The Hugger or the fearless Gymnast??

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Doozie of a Week.... and Lessons Learned From It

Wow what a week we have had!  I tell you what, there are times in my life that I wish for a little something different, a little excitement you know?  But NOT like this!

My poor hubby was playing a softball game this past Tuesday night, and as luck would have it my kids and I were able to attend that one.  Oftentimes we aren't because I am running one kid or another to soccer, scouts, etc.  But not Tuesday.  It was a later game and soccer and scouts were over by then, so we all trekked up to the ballfield to watch Daddy play. 

He did great too!  Ended up on second base, then the next batter was up.  Crack!  He hit the ball into the outfield.  Tim ran to third, the guy in the outfield missed the catch but quickly recovered the ball.  "Run to home!" they shouted at my hubby, and dutifully he did.... right as the ball was thrown that way.  He poured on the steam to get to home plate and decided to slide on in to make extra sure he got there before that ball did!  Well, the ground was wet since it had rained previously, and he didn't slide so well.  Rather, his foot stuck in the ground more than he expected while the rest of his body continued forward.  Unfortunately then, there was yet another crack.  This time it was the audible sound of both bones in his lower right leg breaking-- clearly heard by one of his teammates.

The next bit of time seemed to go by in slow motion.  All the players, from his team and the other, were surrounding him and helping.  Luckily one of our friends is a chiropractor, and another of my husband's teammates has a wife who is a medical resident.  They were both on hand that night, by the grace of God, and helped my husband stay still and calm until the ambulance got there to take him to the hospital.

The rest of that night turned out to be a very long one.  After the ER he went to the OR to get knocked out so they could repair his leg.  He was in way too much pain for them to realign the bones with him awake!  Sadly the cast they thought would do the trick-- one up to his hip at that-- was not enough to keep the bones straight and together, so his orthopedic surgeon said he would have to have surgery instead.  Not what I wanted to hear of course, and my husband was still unconcious on the table so he would not know about this new decision until he woke up. 

They determined he would need a titanium rod the length of his lower leg to be inserted from the kneecap to his ankle, and several pins put in there too to hold it all in place.  Lovely.  But I must say, the resulting bandages and "boot" he has to wear for several weeks are a slightly better alternative to the full leg cast he would have been in for two months or more!

Nothing was more lonely or eerie than me having to sit in that big and EMPTY waiting room that night waiting for my hubby to come out of surgery.  From midnight until 5:30 am I waited and worried.  Not very fun!  But a huge thank you to my friend Karol's husband who brought me snacks and stayed with me until 2am.  That was so kind of him, especially when he had to get up for work the next morning!  But I have come to find out over the past few days, that you know what...... that is just some of what good friends do when you are in need.

My husband and I were talking today about how things always happen for a reason, and how sometimes bad things happen to us so that a greater good might come from them.  He has been wonderful through all of this.  Never uttering a "why me?", never really complaining at all.  He is a strong man, and this experience has served to deepen his faith, and his love of his friends and bretheren.  And we have come to find out that in just three short days since this accident, many good things have happened as a result.

As my husband has been unemployed for some time now, we do not carry health insurance.  We were informed today that people were taking up a collection of money to donate to him to help a bit with our expenses.  You know who gave the most??  A member of the other team they had been playing that night!  Word had spread of my husband's injury and he had been added to their prayer list at their church.  As a result, they were lead to give.... give to a man they never met.  My husband was just about moved to tears when I told him.  He really couldn't get over their generosity and was so humbled with gratitude.  Amazing.

We were talking today and I told him this is just one of those things that renews your faith in the human spirit and reaffirms that God is still working in His people!  It takes things like this to happen every once in awhile to remind you of the love of your friends.  The cards, many phone calls and meal we received tonight from some wonderful ladies remind me, and him, of how incredibly blessed we are, and we are beyond grateful for their love and support. 

And this is an excellent reminder to US as well.  We shouldn't sit back and be complacent when there are others that need our help.  Don't leave the burden of helping your bretheren in need to fall on the shoulders of others.  If we are always too tired or too overcommitted with our "fun" things and such, we won't be able to give back to others like they have given to us.

Our friends, and even those others we do not know, have been wonderful Christian models for us to emulate.  Help those in need, give freely of ourselves, and give our time and our funds when we can.  And that should be often.

In the words of our Savior in Matthew 25 verses 35-40 :
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me." Then the righteous will answer Him, "Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and invite You in or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?"  The King will answer and say to them "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me"

AMEN!  A big thanks to all those who have taken these words to heart and applied them to serving us this week.