Friday, February 26, 2010

I want to adopt my husband does not. What do I do?

I have heard this question often among women that have a desire to adopt yet hubby is not on board for a few reasons. 1. He feels like he has his fill of children. 2. MONEY 3. Wants more biological children 4. Not the right time right now. I have heard these reasons and I am sure there are more, these are the top ones I have heard so far.

I was thinking of this particular question, because just recently I had a little cry fest of my own to Frank about wanting to sell EVERYTHING and move to Africa. I will give you a background on myself and my hubbs. Frank is typical S (on the personality spectrum) Safe, routine, always on time ,no ,always ten minutes + early, loyal, conservative, always orders combo #8 at restaurants. My personality is total opposite, I use to make him nervous I am sure. I can get up and go on call, have no problem with my schedule being interrupted, if I am late to an appointment is because there was a relationship issue (someone calling and needing a friend to talk to etc), do not like ordering the same food on the menu, like trying new things. My gift of mercy and compassion moves me to action faster than I can compute the reasoning of the cost I am giving up. For instance if my husband listened to my cry for all the years we have been married we would have moved umpteen times and who knows where we would be right now. We need each other so much to balance each other out. He asks if I have thought about this or that or even this and that. Then I ask if he feels anything about it ;)! Its been fun!

So this is where I get all biblical on you! Lets take a look at what Scripture says about our husbands. Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 1 peter 3:1
Many women see the word submission and freak out! No fear ladies, our men should not Lord over us their job is to love us like Jesus loves the church, and be gentle with us. Ephesians 5:25
Our job is to ''Submit'' to our husbands and unto the Lord. Submitting by recognizing his position as the head in our homes, respecting him in that that role, not questioning in a nasty and prideful way. We are also to be "In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything'' 1 Timothy 3:11
I wont get into the biblical aspect of submitting to your husband if he is not a believer. If your man is leading you to something that is plainly not honoring the Lord then you honor the Lord in it first. I am writing as if I am speaking a believer about this particular question.
We women are to be subject to our husbands in EVERYTHING. Adoption most defiantly included. So here is what you do if this is your case.
Number 1. HUSH YOUR MOUTH do not nag him about it. There is nothing worse than living with a wife that naggs. Proverbs says it better for a man to life on the roof than to live with a quarrelsome wife. We can influence our husbands, sometimes the best influence is shutting our mouths. Asking a question in a loving and respectful way when the time is right.

Number 2: GET ON YOUR KNEES: If this is laid on your heart then it is for a reason, maybe you will adopt some day maybe or you will support orphan care in some way. Ask that God would make it clear to your husband or take the desire from you until time. He is faithful when we are faithful.
Just like me wanting to move to Africa today, my husband does not have that feeling or desire at all. He feels like it may be in the future but for right now its a NO. This is where I have to honor, respect him and submit to him knowing full well he would have the same nudging if this was what we were suppose to do. Knowing with all my heart that because he loves Jesus he has a close connection with him and he would hear when the time and if the time is right. It may never happen..sniff sniff. That is a dream I have and will continue to lay at his feet.
Take courage women. Most adoptions I know of God spoke to the women first and the men took a nudging by something bigger. It can happen, be patient.

PS: UPDATE ON OUR ADOPTION EXPENSES: NEEDED $2000 YAHOO!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Franks first meeting of the new Teabos

Franks trip to Ghana was a very fast one. Enough to meet the children hang out for two days make it to the embassy and back on the plane. He shared the first meeting like this.J and I had woke up super early after a toss and turn night at the hotel near the home. It was super hot. We had the air condition on in our hotel room and when we turned it off and stepped foot outside the hotel we felt drenched! I was nervous to meet the kids, I didn't know what to expect but I didn't want to expect much either. J was very sure of himself as he walked the foreign streets like he had walked the same path a million times before. Wise soul.
We walked into the gate. And out of a bunch of children playing in the playground came running as fast as they could my kids. G and E. They gave me a super big hug and big smiles. E my 4 year old son was wanting to me hold him almost immediate. He was wanting to hold my back back and was all about me and J. G my 8 year old daughter was all smiles yet she was reserved and shy. She just studied me from a distance and I was okay with that. We were brought in to play with the other children. The temperature rising with the day and the humidity heavy. I played the all the kids at the orphanage and J had taken the crowd over with passing out candy. Then he invented a tag game they kids spent a long time playing together.



Then the bell rang for school the school and all the older children ran to a room that looks like an open car port. Cement floors and wooden tables, the children sat right up and we ready and attentive. I asked if I could watch them do school, I knew Natalie would want me to record it ;). I am proud to report that G can write in very nice hand writing and in English. She also knows the alphabet and her colors and numbers. It was so nice to sit back and she knew I was right there. Well I was the strange Obruni (white man) with two cameras. After school was dismissed G came up to me and said in a small voice ''I see your room daddy?'' I asked if it was okay to talk the kids for a walk to show them our hotel room, we got permission to go. G instantly grabbed by bag, she did not want me to carry anything. She would point at my pack and so ''No..I carry!''

The other thing I noticed about her was that she was a huge helper to everyone. She would clean up like a little lady and help out with the smaller ones. I think Nat will really Love her!

This is where the kids lay their head at night. Can't wait to get them home.
This is G on day two. She has asked me to hold my hand, she has giggle with me and has sang to me and look at her face. Just look.
Now this little guy cracks me up. He is rough and tough if you know my 6 year old son you would know that he is as graceful as a Rhino (I know bad way to describe it, but you get the picture) He is the Ghanaian version of my 6 year old son. Trips over his two feet, and has a problem with the word NO. A BIG ONE. He has had two tantrums that have lasted 40 minutes each...poor Nat! The first night I took him back to the orphanage, we wailed. I mean there was his Auntie (staff member and special care giver) that had to come pry him off me. He sobbed, and it crushed me.

There you have it Franks days in Ghana. I adore my guy. Seriously ladies what more in life could you want than a hunk that would take children in, not biological, for the sake of Loving Jesus! For all you men that have ''MAN UP'' to protect the orphan, to love them to support those that do, I applaud you. Ladies go give em a big fat kiss...don't say its from me ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Provision




Paying for an international adoption is no small task. It can be very costly. It can intimidate many people against opening up their home because of cost alone. Its not that you are ''buying'' children there are many experts involved with the decision to have an orphan in your home, tons of legalities, paperwork, country fees, agency fees, and travel that makes the total end line look impossible. However some of these very people that make excuses of why they can not afford adoption are the same ones that do huge remodels, drive extremely expensive car and drink at Starbucks every day! These things are fine, if you work hard for the money you have and learn to give then you are fine. If you hold onto the excuse of adoption (or giving to Gods ministry somewhere) costing to much for you but you would have no problem signing the dotted line for that new SUV, you gotta examine your heart, harsh...sorry!. If you don't fit that bill because you can't afford those luxuries such as myself then you are left with the question ''how can I afford this?''


This indeed was how we starting this journey. Our budget was tight, we had tons of emergencies that we did not have cash for over the last couple of years and so our mistake has cost us a budget that can easily take two more mouths a VERY tight one. Enough for me to say this is not the right time, more than 100 times. Do I recommend beginning an adoption in the same situation we are in...NO! Unless you know that you know that you know that you know God has asked you to step out NOW. .


You can read our previous post to read the struggles we have had in knowing if this is the right time especially now.


God has told us that He will provide all our needs in this time. We have had plenty of hiccups in the road. We have had finical hardships right around the milestone of a large bill due to the agency. Some adoption agencies require payments through the duration. First ours was 3,600 which God provided in 24 hours! The all go in Big lump sums, and then I remember the final 10,000 payment. Our van had broken down on the freeway and we had some unexpected bills arise at the same time. We crunched every penny we could leaving us with very little food budget, I am talking beans and rice here people. We didn't ask anyone for anything in this time and were amazed how God provided literally food and goods at our door step. Through our church family, through friends that we just meet, through older friends that have been in our lives for years. Even through strangers. On Christmas Eve there were 4 LARGE boxes, 4 fill to the top boxes . From toilet paper to Laundry soap. There was even gifts for our kids. Amazing right!


I have taken pictures each time so I don't forget His goodness. When our friends go through a rough spot I pray that I would have the urging that they did to come to the help.


Then after that tight spot, and adoption payment another tight spot would come and God again would provide through my husbands' job, or some other huge check in the mail. No kidding its been amazing to have our kids witness the Faithfullness.


The most delightful part is that He has provided us with some sweet friends to have during this journey, plenty of sweet friends. My girl Jenni, has been one of my cheerleaders since day one. She is traveling with me to get my kids. She is having her mother fly to Washington to watch her kids so she can travel with me. I went to her house the other day and she showed me what she had bought my kids she calls her "nephew" and "niece" backpacks and goodies so when she meets them. She will be the first family member out side of our immediate family to get to know them. Is she not awesome?!She has seen God work in our family and loves us for it. Who can provide such a friend that's closer than a brother or sister :)?


Its so easy to focus on the negative in this journey or the lack of support from just a small few that's just the minority. However we have been blessed beyond measure. No one can deny this is His hand in our lives due to this provision that he has provided in such amazing ways.


Our children are learning to rely on God for big and small things. They can learn that through a verse or a story at church but how can they really learn this specifically unless they are in the midst of seeing it happen right before their very eyes?


THIS JUST IN: I took a break from the computer to go make lunch and pick up my son from school and I have a friend who came be. These are one of these friends that just a smile brightens up the foulest mood. Know what kind I am speaking about? I love her dearly and adore her family and compassionate heart. She has been a blessing to me. She came by to bring me a card and an encouragement to me. Her encouraging words were this ''Nat you have a way of making others feel convicted with your life!'' Doesn't sound so good? She was meaning that It can be sometimes hard to be around me because I can be convicting to people at times. I take it as a compliment, and I am a HUGELY honored by those words. She left me with a note. That I waited for her to leave before I opened it, I am so bashful about people saying nice things to me ;). There was a check for a big amount, I am humbled and really beyond words again with His provision. In the note its says 'Its not for us, its from Him''. Seriously Jesus you blow me away!

Same friend gave me a lecture (with all the love) about how we are like missionaries. We are not moving to Africa but we are bringing some of Ghana and Ethiopia here, and we should not feel ashamed to receive or ask (I still have a hard time with both parts!)
SO...here I am going to share embarrassingly the amount probably needed to travel. Everything else is covered. GULP..... $3600
This is so funny because its the amount we needed to begin our journey and God is promising to see this journey through so, I am going to watch Him be God Again!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ghana and my son
















Frank and our oldest have come home from Ghana. I picked them up from SeaTac and my husband picked me up off the floor with his hug, I am not a small girl, so he has so happy to be home. My son walked over to me with tears in his eyes, gave me a soft hug and told me straight out ''Why are we here?'' Not the reaction I was expecting! Over the time of the day I listened to him cry about how much he wants to be back in Ghana. I would say to him ''I'm so glad you had a great time, enough that you miss it, but this is where we are for right now.''
He did not want to hear this. At bed time when I got to really chat all about the trip, again with tears in his eyes. ''Why cant we just be missionaries in Ghana, and help all the kids find homes?''

I didn't know what to say. I wanted to say that's not what God wants right now, but I was not so sure. So I just said ''If that what God would want us to do, He would really have to make it crystal clear!

I was so touched by his heart, because its mine! If God told us to move to Africa, I would in a heartbeat. However, its not right now a part of the call for us. I always say right now, because God mostly throws me some curve balls, and I just wonder if that's where we will end up?! Ha!
My prayer is that whatever God calls our children to they would follow and we would be the parents to support the God call in them regardless of worldly wisdom!
Then I began to wonder about his little life. The heritage he comes from, a great grandmother that had a huge heart for the lost and lived her life to God's fullest. Even when she was called crazy herself. A mom who in the same boat will speak up for the orphan, and live a life of crazy for Jesus. This is the lineage and I just wonder what his life will be like. Praying every day as God prepares him for what He wants my son to do.

Prepare me sweet Jesus to give my son to you, no matter the cost, no matter the call.





Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I used to be....



I used to be one of those girls that needed more. More money, more house, more friends, more from my husband, more attention. Life, even though I was a follower of Christ was just not good enough. I would have never agreed with you if you told me that to my face three and a half years ago. NEVER.


I made my husband sell our small home to purchase a Bigger one, yeah me. I practically told him that if he wanted me to be happy in the Northwest then we would have to have a larger home that fit all our ''stuff''. I know I am sick even confessing this out to the world, or the small handful that read my blog still ;)


I had so many friends, but I needed it to be about me some more. MORE. When it wasn't about me somehow I would make it about me. I thought I was fine, I thought my walk with Jesus was honkey dorey.I went to church, I was involved and I was usually the life of a party. I...ME...MORE.


Things were going to be perfect I would have three boys, a big home, a happy family.


Then our lives were changed FOREVER. Our third son in my womb was diagnosed with a rare heart defect. My perfect picture was wrecked. We had become a family that was getting something we didn't ask for a child with special needs. Then when Hudson arrived, we didn't care for normal anymore we, were going to go with it and let this be our new normal. Then three months after birth, He died. Normal was over.


I learned so much MORE about ME that I didn't want to know through his little life. I learned how superficial I really was, I learned how unhappy I really was.


God used his life to bring me to my knees in a way I could never have gone to beg him for the life of my son in turn left me begging for my own life. He kept in His still small voice saying ''If I want to gain my life I need to loose it."


In the next year he would rebuild my marriage, and show me how to die to my own self. He birthed within to follow his command to care for the orphan. Then he continued to peel me like an onion.


To where the new me was totally and utterly wrecked. He tested my heart by sharing with me ways to follow and I did them step by step and through it still I struggled with ME. What, you want us to adopt a baby girl? Shouldn't we try again with our own, and what will people say? What, you want me to go visit children with AIDS in an orphanage but I would have to write letters to ask for money and I REALLY HATE for people to think of me as needy. Say what, you want us to adopt again? People are really going to struggle with this one and think we have lost it!


The one thing I have learned about saying Yes to God is there a lot of dying to your own wants. Dying to many of the fears we as individuals struggle with. The voices of others, they way we look on the outside. Everything shallow.


I can not afford to have the nicest clothes, I can not buy the latest new coat and shoes and matching accessories. I can not go on a fancy vacation with my husband. I cannot and will not get the approval from EVERYONE that I would like.


Then I think of him laying on the cross for me, ME. Selfish, Stupid and silly me. Then it doesn't even matter one bit. I think of the children praying before bed that someone would come near to rescue them. It doesn't matter anymore. I think of the encouragement he speaks to me and suddenly the voices of negativity are silenced.


The new me I have been walking in her shoes for about 3 years now. Its so different than the old girl I once knew. When I am in a group of girls and see someone with a very expensive bag I think about how many malaria pills that could have bought some kids in Africa. When I am out and order a fancy drink I think about how many gallons of water that could have purchased. When I hear women bragging about where the got their nails done how much the new jeans cost them, I become removed from the conversation. Then I remember old Natalie, how she would have wanted to be right in the middle of it and chatting away and all in it. I am in no ways better than them, I just have this new view of life that over time I have embraced this is who I am now.


I must not sound so fun after all, its okay. I will take this girl over that shallow one a million times again.


Am I saying I should never enjoy myself again, go for a fancy pedi (when I can afford it ;) or drink a cosmo with close friends? Not in the least bit, its just through different eyes. One I am not sure will ever be back to normal. Because once you have seen you become responsible.


I don't even want you, normal, status quo, comfortable, pew sitting life . Adios and so long, you are never welcome back and I don't miss you!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

How an Oops became an answered prayer.


This is my studly man. He truly brings such warmth to my heart, this guy is the cats meow. He brings me coffee in the mornings, he kisses my forehead if I am asleep, he does laundry, we have been married for 12 years and have been through devastation and great joys along with trails.
Our semi-last step for our adoption process we are to file an I600 from USCIS. Most families make two trips one to file and then the next a little while later to pick up their children. As awesome as this stud is we had one thing we didn't agree on but I had to respect. He had no desire to go to Ghana with me to pick the kids up. I should rephrase that, his desire was to stay home with the kids he wants to make transition easier on them. I understood him fully but was heartbroken that I would not meet the kids first with my life partner. Then I realized that it would be okay because he would just go file and I would go pick up and life would be good.
Then he decided that filing here would be the best so we don't have to spend the extra $2000 to fly file and fly back. Again I love this man and he had a good point, my heart was breaking though, I really wanted at least for the kids to see that their daddy knows where they are from.
So when it came time to file here in Texas unknown of how long it would take, very nervous. I prepared the paper work at the end of January and asked him to sign the paper work before putting into the envelope as well as ship it overnight.
Two weeks later to the day what shows up at our door? A big envelope with all our paperwork back and a denial, someone forgot to sign the dotted line! Plus gotta love USCIS for this they sent the Manila envelope he used to ship back also. I noticed the stamp on it said $1.90. You know it don't cost $1.90 for overnight shipping..okay! So, imagine my eyes when I showed him, they were full with tears. I felt kicked in the stomach. We have to send it again and wait again for again the unknown.
Then he said something that I wanted to jump across the table and kiss him for. He said ''we can send it OVERNIGHT ;) orrrrrr I can just Fly to Ghana and file myself!"
Fly to Ghana? What....Natalie calm down...lets even see if its possible.
I called Anita our AAI Ghana coordinator who said this is exactly why she thinks families should just go. There at the USCIS office if they say no signature they would have us sign before we left the office.
As much as my heart was for him to go, I knew that this would be a huge undertaking on finances and we could not afford it. Frank my sweet husband had a resource he felt that he should use and so he have the money at least for two tickets.
He said he would leave it to me and guess what I said ''I need you to decide, and I will be fine with which ever!''
One full day and we had no idea. The next morning I called Anita again, and when she said this I knew what we had to do. She said ''Do what you wont regret down the road."
I would always regret for the kids that dad doesn't know where they came from. Doesn't know what it smelt like, what the bed they laid their heads and offered sweet prayers for a family looked like. It was important for me because I knew it would be from them. So, I shared this with him. And then all of a sudden all doors were open and moving fast! So fast I didn't even realize that God had answered my hearts desire with this oops! Our son will be joining him also.
In three days they have gotten yellow fever shots, gotten passports, placed hold on tickets and have an appointment to the embassy.
Our son is simply delighted that he gets to share this with his daddy. He was going to go with me, and I know I would do fine, but I was so worried for the balance of how it would look. He can't even sleep he is in for a big ride and I cant wait to see what God shows him through this trip as well as how He will see God in Africa.
Its nerve wrecking because we have exhausted ALL resources for this. So, we are again at His feet asking for him to see it through till the end. Waiting and watching him be God is rocking my world and I LOVE IT!
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Pray for sweet Abby Riggs!!