The Family

The Family

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Take A Look....

We are hanging out with family this week, enjoying a great time in sunny Florida.  I will post pictures soon-- the kids are having a BLAST!  Especially Gideon, who in just a couple of days has gone from hating the mere mention of the word pool, to being the first one in the water and the last one out! 

But for right now, I just wanted to re-post something that has been written up about sweet, sweet Vanya in hopes of him finding his forever family.  Take a look, and hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as we are!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just A Reminder......

The children are here, the children are here!!  Their plane touched down safely in Raleigh this past Saturday and they have been enjoying a fun-filled week of family time, haircuts, Bible stories and lots more!

I thank the people who have donated to the chip-in for Vanya so far, and hope that more will consider donating to his hosting fee.  He is still staying with two of the organizers of this wonderful program, and I would love for this money to reimburse some of their fees since they have already put so much of their time, money and energy into organizing and executing this program to begin with.

You simply would not believe how adorable these children are!  Such sweet faces with smiles that just seem to light up a room!  It is still unfathomable to me that these children can live day-in and day-out in such difficult situations, the poorest of orphanages, without family to call their own, and they can still hold inside them such a light of hope-- it just radiates out of them.  They are sweet, loving children who just need a chance.

At least 10 of these children out of the 15 are still waiting for a possible family to be matched with.  Please pray that these childen find families while they are here.

If anyone is interested in meeting these wonderful kids, or finding more out about adopting them, please leave a comment below with your information or you can email me at  I would love to put you in touch with this wonderful group of people who are doing so much for these orphans.  Please, make a difference if you can.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"
~~ Ghandi~~

"Whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do it for Me" ~~ Jesus~~

Saturday, July 23, 2011

They Are Arriving Soon!

Vanya and the other children from Ukraine are on a plane from Kiev as we speak.  Soon they will be touching down here in the US, excited and anxious for the next three weeks of festivities to begin.  Parties, outings to the zoo, lake and beach, Bible studies, English lessons, medical appointments, and lots and lots of fun with friends and potential families.

Could your family be one of their potential families?

I think perhaps the best times these children are going to experience are going to be the simplest-- going to church with their host family on Sunday, s'mores around the firepit in the backyard, water balloon fights during the day, movies and popcorn at home during the night.  You get the idea.

Could your family host Vanya for the week, or contribute to his hosting fees so that he may stay with a loving, fun family for these next three weeks?

Could your family be the one who allows him to experience all these simple pleasures that make it fun just to be a kid in the summertime??

Please contribute if you can to his host fee via the chip-in above, or get in touch with me if you might like to host this wonderful child.

Also, I was asked to mention that although the other children have host families, not all of those families are looking to adopt at this time.  Many of the other children are still going to be hoping and praying to find their "forever family".

Please, please be involved in this endeavor if you can. 

Redline United is helping to change lives.  The lives of these precious young children.  It is a wonderful thing to be a part of and I am blessed that our family gets to help again this year.  I cannot WAIT to meet them all and see their smiling faces brimming with excitement just to be here in the US!

Please open your hearts and homes, and help one of these children.

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

OK Folks! We REALLY Need Your Help!

This morning I am reaching out to you-- my friends, my co-horts in adoption, my family members and my bloggy readers-- for help with something very important and very close to my heart!

This Saturday July 23rd, just four short days away, a group of 15 amazing children looking for a family are coming to the United States from the Ukraine.  These are children who range in age from 5-13 who have lived their entire lives in orphanages, and now through the help of a group called Redline United, they have the hope of finding families to love them and call them their own.

Each of these children, or sibling groups, get assigned a "host family" for the three weeks that they are here-- July 23 thru August 13th.  Each of the host families pays for the costs associated with getting the child they are hosting here to the US-- plane tickets, passports, etc.  The total cost for this is $2750.

Redline's mission with each of these children is to find them a home first and foremost.  It could ultimately be with the family who hosts them, or a different family whom they meet through one of many activities and informational meetings they set up throughout the weeks.  Last year ALL of the 16 children who were hosted found families!!!!  All of them have been adopted already or are in the process of being adopted!!  Amazing.

Well this year there are 15 children coming, and all but one of them have host families.
Just one child, sweet 13 year old Vanya, is without a family to stay with here in the US.

Can you help us find him a host family???

The program is held in the Raleigh, NC area but you don't even have to live there to host this precious boy!  You can live anywhere in the United States.  Living in this area would give him access to the three week camp and activities, but their primary objective is to find this child a permanent home after camp is over, so they are open to host families anywhere.

The main deterrent for many families in hosting is of course the cost. 

Can you help Vanya find a host family by donating what you can to help cover his hosting fee??

I am setting up a chip-in on the side of my blog for donations.  Please, please consider donating!!  Every little bit can add up for this child!!!

Donations toward his hosting can also be made on the Redline website (so that they are tax deductible) at with "Vanya hosting" in the memo, or checks can be made out to Redline United with the same (mailed to PO Box 31045, Raleigh, NC 27622-1045).

So Come On Everyone!!!  $2750 is not that much when divided up between many!!!  We can do this!!!  God can do this!  This child needs this opportunity to find a family of his own.  He needs to be able to come to the US with the other children and know what being in a family feels like.  Let's help him to have a CHANCE!
Please help by donating if you can!!!

Below is a little about Vanya, and the program, sent to me by one of the program's coordinators Amanda Devore:
"Vanya is 13 years old.  He is a quiet and sweet young man and is the oldest of all the children coming for the hosting program.  He lives in a poor rural orphanage in the Crimea region of Ukraine and has been in the orphanage system for at least 3 years. 

Redline United has been doing mission work in Ukraine since July 2007.  Our key focus has been to bring the love of Christ to orphans that are otherwise alone in the world.  We fell in love with these children and wanted to be a part of God's plan to place these lonely children into loving families (Psalm 68:6).  Last year we brought 16 children to Raleigh, NC to be hosted for a three week trip of a lifetime with a family.  While the children are here they get to learn about Jesus in our vacation Bible school camp, take English lessons, visit doctors, and experience things they could have never imagined -- like seeing the ocean for the first time and riding a bike.  The best part of the experience for them, is getting to be a part of a family - for some of them it's their first time.  This year we are bringing 15 more children.  We are hopeful that while the children are here we may be able to introduce them to a forever family!"

We helped out with this program last year and got to meet all the incredible children who came to the US last summer. Let me just say, it changed our lives and the lives of our children.  We only got to assist with this camp for two days, and that was all it took to open our hearts and our children's hearts to the plight of the orphan.  Our kids got to see that those children were just like them!  They loved to play, have fun and learn.  And they wanted the love of a family.  It was a major catalyst as well in spurring us on towards the adoption of older children.

Let's help Vanya know the love of a family.  Give him the opportunity to be one less orphan in this world.  Please.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Think You Can't? Yes You Can.

Our preacher Mr. Tommy Poarch gave a great sermon tonight.  He was talking about how each one of us has a part to play for the Lord.  There is something every person can do to spread God's word.  We need to get out there and live our lives doing for others, playing a part in God's great plan, not just sitting around taking up space!

As I was listening, a couple sentences he spoke stood out to me.  He said:

"God sees potential in each of us.  We don't have to be perfect people because
there is no such thing as a perfect person"

In other words, we don't have to wait to act.  We don't have to feel "perfect" or "worthy" before we go out and try to make a difference.  Use what we have, who we are and what we are given to make a change in this world. 

Of course when he said this, I thought about adoption.

So many people wait for the perfect moment to adopt.  The right house, the bigger car, enough money saved.  Sometimes the wait goes on and on and then..... it just never happens.

Mr. Poarch said something else tonight that rang true for me.  He said that sometimes people just don't believe that God is big enough to do "it".  They don't trust in Him to accomplish "it" so that He can have the glory.

What is that "it"?  Well for us, it was our adoption of Gideon.  We had to rely heavily on His grace, mercy and guidance.  If not for God, Gideon would not be with us today.

God uses each and every one of us in the way He sees fit if we allow Him to. 
HE is big enough. 
HE is great enough. 
He is awesome enough to knock down whatever obstacles are in our way to achieving something great for His glory.... if we only let Him.

If you are not convinced, read below to see what was printed in our bulletin today:

The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember........

Abraham was too old.
Joseph was abused.
Moses wasn't a fluent speaker.
Gideon was afraid.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Jonah ran from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
John the Baptist ate bugs.
Peter denied Christ.
The Deciples fell asleep while praying
Mary Magdalene was demon posessed.
The Samaritan Woman was divorced..... more than once.
Paul was "too religious" to see the truth.
Lazarus was DEAD!!!!!!

......... no more excuses now.  God is waiting to use you to your full potential!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Criticism for the Larger Family

This following excerpt was taking from the blog Large Families on Purpose which you can find the link to on my sidebar.  It is actually a quote from a book by Chris and Wendy Jeub:

Here's a quote from another book by the Jeubs that I'm so enjoying currently called Love Another Child. This quote makes me laugh - it's a great description of what Bob and I have experienced since we've become parents of a large family.

"A funny thing happened at seven children [five for the Shupes]. The social pressure disappeared. Family and friends stopped dropping those annoying comments like, 'Aren't you done yet?' or, 'You do know how that happens, don't you?' When you have two, you're extremely normal; at four or five, you're in the same boat as many married couples, wondering whether or not to cut the line and stop having children. Once you're at seven, though, you're in Looneyland - you're 'out there' and there ain't no persuadin' you.

Something happened to us, too. The pressures to conform began to roll off our backs. Instead of doubting our convictions, we would reflect on how great our life was. We laughed the wisecracks off. 'You do know how that happens, don't you?' Yes! And we're really good at it. Here's one that I told a newspaper reporter, and it ended up in the local paper: Wendy knows, but she won't tell me. Even the most cynical laugh with us." (pg. 2)

I just had to re-post this one because I feel like it perfectly fits and exemplifies what I have been feeling for while now.  There is really so much judgement in this world regarding large families.  If you have more than a couple of children, people wonder what on earth you are doing or why you would subject yourself to such a thing! 

I remember talking to one of my friends before we decided to jump into the world of foster care.  At the time, Tim and I had 4 children, and so did my friend.  I remember saying to her that you could get away with having 4, and people might just look at you and remark how "full" your hands were. But dare to make the leap to 5 or beyond and then people just think you are plain crazy!

It really is true.  And you know what, like most things, having a large family isn't for everyone.  After all, I was an only child and so was my husband for about 13 years until his brother came along. 

Large families are definitely out there, but they are certainly not the norm anymore as they once were many years ago.  We don't need children to help on the farm like we once did, or to help bring in extra income for the family.  So families have gotten smaller.  Having two or three is more commonplace.

And that is all fine and well.  But should the rest of us be thought of as crazy just because we go against the "norm"?  As with everything else, a lot of it is mindset. 

People in our culture unfortunately don't always look at children as a blessing.  Well, they do to a certain point, then having "too many" becomes a burden--
we need a bigger car to fit them all in, we can't go on a vacation at the drop of a hat (forget flying anywhere), we can't go out to eat all the time, the noise levels are reaching the crazy level :) 

Then we start to say, "Well, maybe [insert your number here] is enough."

And, when others go against that cultural "norm" that again is always out there, looming....... when they are crazy enough to profess that they (like me) love the idea of driving a 15 passenger van, or that they think more kids would be nothing but a blessing, they are given weird looks like they certainly must have lost their mind!!

And then the whispers begin.

"Did you hear that she is pregnant AGAIN ?????"
"Did they really want another child???"
"Don't they have enough??"
"How on earth do they feed them all???"
"Are they really adopting another child???"

What I have always, always, always wondered is WHY??  Why do they care so much about what other families choose for their lives?  If it is not impacting them, why do they wonder and talk amongst themselves about the size of someone's family?

Is it because they too wish they could have a larger family but are to afraid to take the leap, to truly follow what GOD wants for their lives and not what society tells us? 

Is it because they value THINGS more than they should, and having more children would mean sacrificing more? 

And not just monitarily either-- is it that they are afraid of sacrificing more "me" time to the cause of raising their children? 

(And I put these thoughts in here as a result of experience not condemnation-- these are all questions I have faced down in my own life when grappling with the thought of having a larger family)

Well, whatever the reason is that people choose to talk and condemn, as the paragraph from the article above states, I will not worry about what others have to say about our family size. After awhile it just rolls off your back.  And if people choose to talk, so be it.  In the words of Romans 12:14 --

"Bless them that persecute you; bless and curse not"

And if you want to look at God's opinion of large families, look no further than Psalm 127 verse 3-5.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."

Is having a house full of kids always a bed of roses?  No of course not.  But that could be said for the one or two children a couple has as well.

There are scraped knees, sibling spats, and arguments all the time about who gets the last of the cereal or the last coveted chocolate chip cookie.  (usually Mom wins out on that one!  hee!)

But you know what, that is okay.  I feel like God has equipped me for this challenge.  He will guide my feet along the path of motherhood.  He will guide Tim's feet and bless him as he continues to provide for his family because we are trying our best to do what we feel He has called us to do.  We have had our share of struggles this past year, as many of you know, and God has faithfully lead us through every one.  We have no reason to doubt that He will continue to lead us.  We just have to trust in Him and follow His will.  In everything.  Children included.

So on behalf of all the larger families out there-- please don't condemn us.  Please don't talk behind our backs or call us crazy.  We are not you and vice versa, and that is okay.  After all, everyone out there with only a couple kids would certainly be up in arms if we told you that you were rediculous for only having two right?  Put the shoe on the other foot.  Thanks.  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Simple Joy

It is getting close to two months since Gideon arrived home.  Two wonderful, special, fun and amazing months.  And I am not exaggerating.  I know usually there is a honeymoon period with adoptions.... kids behave their best for awhile and then all heck breaks loose and you wonder who this child really is.  But I don't think we are in for that with Gideon. He is simply a sweet, sweet boy.

He is really kind to all his siblings.
He especially loves to hang out with Evan and play soccer with Grayson.  He will give him a hug for absolutely no reason (and a noogie on the head while he is at it).  He and Schuyler tease eachother all the time, he plays cards and rides bikes and computer games with all of them till their hearts' content.

He is so obedient.
He always does what we ask of him, he is a better tidy-er upper than all the rest of my kids combined, he always remembers to wash his dish and dry it after meals, helps out with the family chores without complaint, and eats everything put in front of him.  (Found out more about that too-- but more on that later)

He has a good heart.
We found out tonight, again through our good friend Google Translate, that he did in fact receive the care package we sent him in China while he was waiting for us to come back and get him.  When my husband asked him where some of the items were and if they were up in his room he responded that he gave them to his friend for his birthday.  Can you imagine?  He had virtually nothing to call his own while he was there, and what little he had gifted to him by his new Mama and Baba, he chose to bestow on his friend.  Wow.

We have truly found a gem.  A gem that was hidden away for so long and only needed a chance.  He only needed something many of us take for granted-- a family-- so that he could shine.

Thank you Lord for our son.  Thank you for giving him to us so that we might love and cherish this amazing son who continues to delight us each day.  I only hope and pray that we can be as much of a delight to him.

We love you Gideon!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why Not Adopt??

I know there are many people in this world, family and friends even, who question our reasons or other people's reason's for adopting.  They ask the common questions about money, time, resources, or the big all-encompassing one...."How do you do it??"  They wonder how people manage with "so many children."  Well, I suppose it is all a matter of mindset.  For our family, we don't feel like 6 kids is that many.  For others, it might be all they can do to handle two. 

Regardless, below is a great video to watch on adoption.  It asks us to really, truly LOOK at the reasons why we say, "Oh I would love to adopt, but....."  There is always that "but" sneaking in-- if we let it.  That is the key.  What are we going to allow to dictate our life?  What we feel we should do, or what this world-- our culture-- tells us we should do?
Who are we going to follow, as the Bible asks us-- God or Man?

Watch the video below until the end.  It isn't very long.  Take his list challenge and see what your family comes up with.  How many "buts" are left on your why not list?

The orphans of this world are hoping there aren't many.

(scroll to the bottom of my blog and click the pause button on my playlist to hear the video)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth Everyone!!!

Ah what a fabulous weekend it has been so far!  Everything you want your Fourth of July to consist of-- time with family, fun outdoors, fireworks, parades.... even some berry picking!

We have been enjoying a truly fun weekend and I hope your family can say the same.

We started off the holiday weekend with some blackberry picking.  Friends of ours from church own the most adorable place called Summerberry Farm with loads of thornless blackberry bushes.  Great fun for the kids, and for me!  In fact, a freshly baked blackberry pie just came out of my oven a few minutes ago.  Yum!!!

Our friends the Frenches who own this sweet little place are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.  So glad this little gem of a place is so close by!

Standing in the shade for a spell.  It was HOT out there!

All those yummy ripe berries just waiting to be picked!

Just one of our EIGHT baskets of blackberries!

The gang's all here!!  (minus daddy)
We all wore our best clothes-- not!  Berry juice stains!  We learned that last year when we came picking.

Sweet Katerina helps run the farm along with her parents.

All loaded up and ready to go!

Well the next day was Saturday and we all rose early in the morning-- too early for my liking on a Saturday-- and headed into town for the annual Fourth of July Parade.  It was awesome, and although hot, we weren't melting away like we have in previous years.  Gideon determined at the end of the parade, that is was a pretty so-so experience for him.  I don't know if it is just that he isn't a parade type of guy, or if sitting out in the sun for that long didn't appeal to him much.  Heehee!

The start of the parade.  Even though we got there early there was nary a space to be had!

Never fails to make me cry when I see these brave men marching down our streets carrying these flags.  Every parade.  Every time. 
We should all count our blessings today that men and women like these are out there serving our country, helping us hold onto those freedoms we hold so dear.

There were some great floats!

A cool flyover by one of the biggest planes I have ever seen!

Evan's friend from soccer with his own float!

Just one of the many firetrucks that came to our rescue back in December when our house caught on fire!  Thank you thank you for your service!!

Oh Mama dear, why oh why do you keep taking pictures of me??

Me and my baby!

My handsome hubby!

Tim and I sporting our patriotic footwear.

You are never too old to have some fun and show some American spirit!

Let's all remember that our freedom isn't free.

Happy Fourth of July Everyone!!!
Stay safe and enjoy a fun weekend with family and friends.
We thank God for our family, for our newest blessing who is able now to enjoy all these holidays and "firsts" with us, and for our freedom.

God Bless America!