I think of you often, Birthmom!

 Katerina has been home now for 6 months and I wish I could tell you it has been this beautiful fairy tale and we all lived happily ever after. The truth is adoption has been one of the most life-changing, schedule altering, decisions we have ever made.

This adoption has been one of the greatest things the Lord has called us to do. Truth be told, it has also been one of the hardest. No it wasn’t an instant bond and yes there have been days I have questioned why God would lead us to adopt a child with such major medical needs. I wish I could tell you we swept into Eastern Europe with our super hero capes on and rescued this sick little girl from a life full of heartache and pain, but this isn’t the case. We took her from all she had ever known and from the wonderful caregivers and doctors she was attached to. To be quite honest, she swept in with her cape on and completely changed us.

She has taught us so much about life, with her big smile and contagious laugh. She has shown us a new side of life, the side in which you don’t care how bad life is physically, you can have joy anyway. She has opened up doors for us to help reach her people group with the Gospel of Christ.

Because of her we celebrate louder and we laugh harder.
Because of her we now understand (well some what) how the heart works and functions.
Because of her we have personally seen the miracles of God.
Because of her we pray more and harder.
Because of her we have learned to trust God more.
Because of her we have learned to look fear in the face and say “Our God is bigger.”
Because of her we have learned, in a deeper way, the unconditional love of our Savior.

Many times I thank the Lord for her birth mom because without the love and sacrifice she made we we would not have our little Katerina. Without her our family would not be complete!!!

Happy Birthmom Day!!!!!

1st day we met her

Daddy working on adoption paperwork on Christmas Eve


Taming The Laundry Monster

For the past 12 years there has been this hideous monster living in my house, my laundry room to be exact. I have tried every “schedule” I could think of and they never worked for us. Managing the rest of the house really wasn’t a problem as long as I could shut the door to my laundry room and forget about the piles of clothes building up. The truth is  I HATE DOING LAUNDRY.. so it has always been at the bottom of my priority list.

Image Courtesy:Free Images

But after a leaking washer and a very slow drying dryer I decide to be extreme in getting rid of my laundry monster and it has been such a great decision.

No longer do I have to worry about piles of dirty laundry to sort  or waiting for this load to dry so that I can put in the next load….

Image Courtesy:Free Images

Now every Thursday we load up the laundry and  $20 in quarters and head to the laundry mat. Two loads( using jumbo washing machines) and an hour later we are loading up all the clean folded/hung clothes and we are headed back home to immediately put everything up.

This has been such a great thing for our family and not only do I have a super clean laundry room but all of the laundry is done at once.

And each Thursday I drive home thanking the Lord for those jumbo washers and dryers and for the smell of clean laundry filling up our Suburban.

The Forgotten Disciples

” Go therefore and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-24215T" data-link="(T)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>make disciples of <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-24215U" data-link="(U)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>all the nations, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-24215V" data-link="(V)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-24216W" data-link="(W)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>I am with you always, even to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-24216X" data-link="(X)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19-20)

What comes to mind when you read this verse? For most of us we think about getting on a plane and going somewhere far away and sharing the gospel with people of an unreached people group, or maybe you think about the young lady in your lifegroup you disciple every week. And while all of those are definitely what this passage is teaching, I do believe there are some “forgotten disciples” out there….

You know them extremely well. In fact, you know them better than anyone because you care for them on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, if you are a woman they call you “Mom”.

Over the last few weeks God has really convicted me about this. We are focused on our children coming to faith in Christ (as we should be) and then once they do we check that one off of our list right next to potty training and reading.

Unfortunately, we neglect to disciple our children. I think we figure either they will just “catch on” or, just as terrible, the church will take care of that once they are older.

But this isn’t the church’s job, this is our responsibility as parents. We are in charge of their discipleship and we as Christian parents should view this as one of our greatest privileges. We should share in their growth and sanctification and challenge them to be a disciple of Christ and teach them how to study the Word. This is parenting, this is discipleship.

So where do you start?

Well for our family we started with the Word of God, a journal, a pen, lots of prayer, and dependency on the Lord.

We have started by teaching them how to study the Word and how to journal about what they have read. Next we taught them about prayer and about writing down their prayers. In a few weeks, we will study fasting and what God’s Word says about it.  

My prayer in this is that my children will
learn how to be disciplined disciples of Christ and in return learn to disciple others.  

KatieJoy’s Surgery

Today LouAnn and I met with the doctor that will be doing KatieJoy’s surgery. It wasn’t the news we were wanting to hear but we are trusting in the Lord and His ability to heal and to make things new. Here’s what we were hoping for:

1. A closed heart surgery ( repair the Glenn she had done)

2. One year later for her to have the Fontan surgery

Unfortunately, this is not the case. She will still be having the repair but he will be doing it as an open heart surgery in order to see if she has a viable second chamber. Also, she is not a candidate for the Fontan due to high lung pressures.

WE ARE ASKING GOD FOR A MIRACLE!!! And we would covet your prayers. If she does have a viable second chamber then the doctor will eventually be able to do another surgery that will really help her.

If she doesn’t then we are looking at some other options that are simply just band-aids and are not good long term solutions.

Her surgery is scheduled for July 16th so please be in prayer for her and for the doctor. Please ask God to work a miracle in her life.

Our New Homeschool "Normal"

Since we brought home our newest addition to our family we have definitely had to find a new “normal”. Between bonding, attachment, and the myriad of doctors’ visits we have still had to find a way to get all of our school work done. The one thing that has seriously been a life-saver is the ability to switch my teaching days around. And the number one helper is my Homeschooling Family Day Planner, this planner makes it extremely easy to plan out my teaching schedule, keep everything organized, and move things around when I need to without missing things. The planner I use is available at Mardel Christian Stores but you can get this one on Amazon and it will work as well.

So here’s what it looks like:

Mondays (Teaching Days)

Any lessons throughout the week that would require a “teaching” or “parent led” portion (for my older children), I do all of this on Monday. All of this makes Monday’s a super busy home school day so I try really hard not to schedule anything else on this day. This is also the day we do any big projects or enrichment. For example, we made our edible cells for Anatomy & Physiology on “teaching day”.

This is a great day for my younger ones to do any art projects or busy work.

Tues -Thurs.- The older children work independently these days which gives me an opportunity to work one-on-one with my Kindergartner and 1st grader. This method has really enabled my older two (3rd & 4th graders) to work on managing their day.

Friday – Co-op Day

This very simple change has transformed our new “normal” and has allowed Momma to keep her sanity;) This may not work for everyone, but that is the beauty of homeschooling, it enables us the creativity to find what works:)

An Update On KatieJoy-

“Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

I have always “given” a verse to each one of our children while I was pregnant and KatieJoy was no exception. While “paper pregnant” the above verse seemed appropriate and now that we have had her home for the last 3 months it is even more fitting.

I have said this verse over and over again as well as a myriad of others since Wednesday. Our cardiologist from Cooks called us personally to discuss the meeting he and his team had regarding the results of KatieJoy’s heart cath. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when he asked that my hubby be there for the next appointment so we could discuss our options. Basically, in a nutshell, the team of doctors (including the surgeon) agreed that as of now she will not be able to have the 3rd surgery. They do not believe, at this time, that she would survive it, they fear she would either not live through the actual surgery or that her body would reject the new flow of blood shortly after surgery. There is still a lot up for discussion with the team of doctors and so far this is one of the decisions they made.

So whats the next step?

The team has decided to do a less risky surgery in April or May going through her back under the left shoulder blade to access the heart. Depending on how well she does with this one they will decide what to do next. I think there will be some discussion of heart and lung transplant for the future (this is definitely the most risky of all the surgeries).

They are hoping this next surgery will buy her some time and possibly strengthen her heart/lungs.

So why the sudden change in plans?

Well what they saw on the cath is that left side of her lungs do not look so good. Blood is not flowing properly and there is a great deal of concern with her left side. They believe it needs to be taken care of quickly and that how she does with this surgery will be very telling.

We were told to enjoy her, take some time as a family, and let her enjoy life.

We know that God has a perfect plan for her and He is still a miracle worker and that HE can do great and mighty things!

Some may think this is easy because she isn’t our biological child, but I am here to tell you that its not. We love her as if I gave birth to her and we will continue to pray for a miracle and for God to sustain her. We are trying to plan a little trip with her to Galveston (so we can be close to Texas Children’s just in case) and we are also being encouraged to apply for Make -a -Wish for her.

Does this mean we have given up and resigned to the fact that she may not make it through the upcoming surgeries?

No, we know and are well aware of how fragile her life is, as well as how fragile all our lives are, but we also believe that she can live for another 30 years if that is in Gods plan…but we want her to live her life to the fullest…as should be true for each one us.

How can you pray?

-for the team of doctors as they make decisions
-for our appointment on the 30th .
– pray for strength for KJ
– pray that she will come through this upcoming procedure

We appreciate all your prayers and we know these prayers have helped get her through so much!

Embracing The Changing Seasons Of Homeschool Life

Over the Christmas break our household experienced some major changes. We had the joy of bringing home our adopted daughter!  With all the joy and excitement that this blessed occasion brought, along with it came some major changes.
Crowned With Joy
I knew with the newest addition to our household things would be different; more laundry,more dishes, diapers(again) but I actually never thought about how it would change our homeschool schedule. I hope you will join me over the next few days as I share with you some of the major changes we have made to our homeschooling day and how implementing these changes has been a sanity saver.